Who is John Richardson Maine?
John Richardson, who was a top legislator in Maine and was commissioner for economic development under Gov. John Baldacci, died Tuesday at the age of 62.
The Democrat died of an apparent heart attack, according to his friend and political protégé, former state Rep. Eddie DuGay, D-Cherryfield. He is survived by his wife, doctor Stephanie Grohs, and three children.
Richardson, a lawyer who was elected speaker of the House in 2005, was also majority leader of the House, a Representative of the Democratic State from 1998 to 2006, a television commentator on Maine politics and a member of the Brunswick City Council.
He was known for his good collaboration with Republican counterparts and for a sharp, sometimes core supportive but enjoyable sense of humor, DuGay said.
One of DuGay’s fondest memories of Richardson was when the two met Fidel Castro during a 2005 trade bill in Cuba, which led to Maine securing $20 million in negotiated agreements with that communist state. At one point, the dictator put an arm around DuGay’s shoulder and said, “I think I’m going to keep DuGay.””
Richardson immediately replied, “Your country will never be able to afford to feed him,” DuGay recalled Tuesday.
‘That’s how we did each other. “We always went back and forth and that’s what he said to Castro,” DuGay said. “Then I told him, “I think you’re the best dog to get me.”
The heart attack came despite Richardson being a very active man. He was a hiker and mountaineer who would work on his daily routine, DuGay said.
‘This really put me back today. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with,” DuGay said. “I called him Speak. “Hey Speak.” A nice man. Great man, very proud of his family, his amazing children. “
Richardson ran a failed campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010. He withdrew from the Democratic primary race in April of that year after failing to qualify for government funding. The Maine attorney general’s office has charged four people with knowingly filing false documentation with the state’s campaign funder. Richardson was not involved in the criminal complaint.
Richardson returned to politics when he was elected to brunswick council in 2013. In recent years, he has been a political commentator opposite former Republican state Sen. Phil Harriman on WCSH and WLBZ’s “NewsCenter Maine.””
“The people of Brunswick have lost a friend. I lost a friend. The state of Maine has lost a “friend,” Said Gov. Janet Mills in a statement Tuesday.