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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch the RGA’s American Comeback feature on Governor LePage: