Joseph E. Brennan Dies at 89

( – Joseph E. Brennan, a former Democratic governor and congressman of Maine, has passed away at the age of 89.

He passed away peacefully in his home in Munjoy Hill in Portland, with his wife, Connie, beside him.

Born and raised in Portland, Maine in 1934 to Irish immigrants, Brennan forged close ties with the Irish community in the state throughout the years. He went to Cheverus High School and graduated in 1952, moving on shortly after to serve the country as a member of the U.S. Army, which he was a part of from 1953 to 1955. His army service also allowed him to attend Boston College. After graduating there, he returned to Portland to take up law, graduating at the top of his class at the University of Maine’s School of Law. He began to practice law in the private sector around 1963, but was eventually convinced to run for public office.

Brennan first ran for Maine’s state legislature, successfully securing a seat in the state’s House of Representatives at the young age of 29. He became an attorney for Cumberland County in 1970 after he was elected to the position, but returned to the state legislature in 1972 but this time as a state senator. At that time, he was also named state Senate minority leader.

Brennan served two terms as governor of the state, from 1979 to 1987. He first attempted to take a stab at the position in 1974, but it was unsuccessful. He lost the primary to George Mitchell, but moved on to become attorney general for the Pine Tree State in 1975. He was re-elected to the position in 1977. Brennan was also instrumental in facilitating negotiations between Maine’s Native American tribes and the federal government, which resulted in then-president Jimmy Carter’s signing of the Indian Land Claims settlement of 1980.

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