(from the governor’s official internet site, April 25, 2011)
Remarkable Life Story
Paul LePage has spent most of his life tackling one challenge after another, the kinds of challenges that defeat most people.
The oldest son of eighteen children in an impoverished, dysfunctional family, Governor LePage left home at the age of eleven to escape domestic violence and lived on the streets of Lewiston for two years, making a meager living shining shoes.
At age thirteen, two families jointly “adopted” Governor LePage. Eddy and Pauline Collins kept him busy washing dishes at the Theriault’s Cafe. Bruce and Joan Myrick kept him busy hauling boxes. Bruce was a Pepsi-Cola truck driver. Later the Governor worked at the Antoine Rubber Company and at a meat packing company.
While attending Husson, he supported himself as a short order cook and bartender, while making time to be the editor of the college newspaper.
Getting into Husson presented a challenge in itself. Governor LePage was brought up speaking French. With the help of U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe’s first husband, Peter, he was able to take an admissions exam in French to demonstrate his strong comprehension abilities and earn admittance.
In college, Governor LePage excelled academically and graduated with a BS in Business Administration in Finance/Accounting. He then went on to earn an advanced college degree – an MBA from the University of Maine.
Leader in Maine Business
Mickey Marden hired Governor LePage as general manager of Marden’s in 1996. The Governor helped build the organization necessary to go from a handful of stores to 15 Maine-based locations that have become a favorite of bargain hunters and shopping adventurists alike.
Prior to joining Marden’s, Governor LePage headed a private consultancy through which he provided executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer services and advice to banks, law firms, client companies, insurance companies, bankruptcy courts and trustees. His industry experience includes manufacturing, wood products, forestry, power, furniture, food and beverage, building supply and construction in Maine and Canada.
Chief Executive of a Maine Government
Next to escaping a life of poverty in Lewiston, Governor LePage’s greatest success has been as Mayor of Waterville. As a Republican in a solidly Democrat town, the Governor worked across party lines to reduce taxes annually, improve the City’s credit rating, increase the rainy day fund and maintain strong support for local education – all without cutting services.
An attention to detail, focus on the big picture and a zeal for efficiency are business attributes that Governor LePage brings to public service at the municipal and now the State level.
Candidate for Maine Governor
A business leader who served his community as mayor, Paul LePage decided to run for Governor believing the approach that had succeeded throughout his business career and in Waterville could work for all of Maine.
He entered a seven-way primary contest for the Republican Nomination for Governor with very little name recognition among the party faithful. Event by event, Governor LePage won over converts with his message of personal success and his fiscally conservative principles. Despite being outspent ten-to-one by his nearest primary opponent, the Governor went on to a resounding victory, earning 38% of the vote in the seven-way primary.
During the five-way General Election, Governor LePage continued to talk about his experience in creating jobs and his commitment to putting people before politics in Maine. Governor LePage rode that message to victory on November 2, 2010.
Paul LePage was sworn in as Maine Governor on Wednesday, January 5, 2011. (Read Governor LePage’s inaugural address.)
(end governor’s official biography)
Governor LePage’s administration was rocked by controversy in its early stages. Among them the governor:
- January 15, 2011: in refusing a request from the Maine NAACP to meet with them on their terms, responded a question from a reporter “What is your response to them saying this is more than one instance but rather a pattern?” by saying “Tell ’em to kiss my butt.”
- March 23, 2011: ordered removal of a mural, depicting Maine’s labor history, from the Maine Department of Labor as “not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.” When asked on March 25th how he would respond if protesters formed a human chain to prevent removal, he said, “I would laugh at ’em, the idiots.”
Concerned about these and other inflammatory statements, eight Maine Senate Republicans publicly rebuked the governor in a newspaper opinion piece on April 4, 2011.
His public statements may have influenced the outcome of the 2012 election, when Republicans lost control of the State Senate and House of Representatives. The governor continued his “frank” comments apparently regardless of their impact.
In June 2013 the San Francisco Chronicle reported “LePage said Jackson ‘claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”
With the legislative session ending in 2013, LePage had broken the record of vetoes in a single session by modern governors. By July 5, 2013 he had rejected 57 bills passed by the now Democratic controlled legislature, surpassing the previous record held by Independent James B. Longley, Sr. at 40 in 1975.
In the November 2014 election for governor, LePage won 48.2% of the vote (unofficially) to be reelected to a second term.