Paul Richard LePage (born October 9, 1948) is an American businessman and politician who is serving as the 74th and current Governor of Maine. A Republican, he was previously mayor of Waterville from 2003 to 2011, and was a city councilor before that. He worked in the private sector as general manager of the 14-store discount chain, Marden's Surplus and Salvage, from 1996 to 2011.
Paul LePage is the eldest son of eighteen children. He grew up speaking French in an impoverished home with what he has described as an abusive father. At age eleven, he left home and lived on the streets of Lewiston, seeking shelter wherever he could find it, including in horse stables and at a "strip joint". After spending roughly two years homeless, he began to earn a living shining shoes. short order cook, and bartender. Paul LePage applied to Husson College in Bangor, but was initially rejected due to a poor verbal score on the SAT, a result of English being his second language. LePage has said that Peter Snowe – the first husband of current U.S. Senator from Maine Olympia Snowe – persuaded Husson to give LePage a written exam in French, which allowed LePage to show his comprehension and be admitted. At Husson, LePage improved his English skills and became editor of the college newspaper. He graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration in Finance and Accounting, and later earned a M.B.A. from the University of Maine. Paul LePage worked for a lumber company in New Brunswick, Canada, from 1972 to 1979, then Scott Paper in Winslow, Maine. A few years later, he founded his own business consulting firm, LePage & Kasevich Inc., specializing in aiding floundering companies. In 1996, LePage became general manager of Marden's Surplus and Salvage, a Maine-based discount store chain. In 2006, he was voted the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s businessman of the year. In 2007, he was named "Maine Business Champion" by the National Federation of Independent Business.
At thirteen, he worked washing dishes at a café and hauling boxes for a truck driver. He later worked at a rubber company, a meat-packing plant, and was a
Paul LePage served two terms as a Waterville city councilor before becoming mayor in 2003, retaining that post until resigning in January 2011. During his time as mayor, LePage reorganized city hall, lowered taxes, and increased the city's rainy day fund balance from $1 million to $10 million.
Governor of Maine
On September 22, 2009, LePage announced that he would be seeking the 2010 Republican nomination for Governor of Maine.LePage won 38% of the vote in a seven-way primary, despite being outspent ten to one by the closest challenger. Bangor Daily News declared LePage the winner, carrying 38.1% of the votes. Cutler was in second place with 36.7% of the votes (less than 7,500 votes behind LePage), while Mitchell was a distant third with 19%.Moody and Scott had 5% and 1%, respectively. LePage is the first popularly-elected Franco-American governor of Maine,and the first Republican since John R. McKernan, Jr., was re-elected in 1990. In his victory speech, LePage promised he would shrink government, lower taxes, decrease business regulation, and put "Maine people ahead of politics." On March 23, 2011, Governor LePage sparked protests when he announced that he planned to remove a large mural depicting the history of the state's labor movement from the lobby of the Maine Department of Labor offices. LePage said that he had received a written complaint signed by a "secret admirer", and "some complaints" from business owners. The mural includes depictions of Rosie the Riveter at Bath Iron Works, a 1937 shoe worker’s strike, and a 1986 paper mill strike. The artist, Judy Taylor, stated, “There was never any intention to be pro-labor or anti-labor, it was a pure depiction of the facts.”LePage also announced that he plans to rename conference rooms that have carried the names of historic leaders of American labor, as well as former Secretary Frances Perkins, the first woman cabinet member in American history. The Governor’s spokesman explained that the mural and the conference-room names were “not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.Despite protests, on March 28 it was disclosed that the murals had been removed over the weekend. In a statement, LePage's press secretary said, "The mural has been removed and is in storage awaiting relocation to a more appropriate venue."On March 30 the Portland Museum of Art issued a statement that said Paul LePage's decision has tarnished the state's reputation as a haven for artists: "The historical role of Maine as muse and refuge for generations of Americans is called into question by this single action."The Maine Curators' Forum, a consortium of curators and directors from museums, colleges and universities, art centers and galleries throughout the state, also issued a statement that called LePage's action a "direct affront to our values as arts professionals." On April 1 it was disclosed that a federal lawsuit had been filed in U.S. District Court seeking "to confirm the mural's current location, ensure that the artwork is adequately preserved, and ultimately to restore it to the Department of Labor's lobby in Augusta".
At 11:19 PM EDT, WCSH declared Paul LePage winner of the GOP Primary. In the general election, LePage faced off against Democrat Libby Mitchell, and independents Eliot Cutler, Shawn Moody, and Kevin Scott. With 94% of precincts reporting on the day after the election, the
Paul LePage is married to Ann LePage and has four children: two from his first marriage, who live in Canada, and two with his second wife Ann. Since 2002, his household has also included a young man from Jamaica, Devon Raymond, Jr. (born 1985). LePage calls Raymond his adopted son, although adoption paperwork has never been filed. LePage met Raymond in Jamaica through Raymond's father, who caddied for LePage during a vacation there.
May 4th, 2011