Paul LePage’s story is a dramatic tale of a young man facing adversity who pulled himself out of poverty to become a job creating business success, a Mayor and Governor of the State of Maine.
Paul LePage has spent most of his life tackling one challenge after another, the kinds of challenges that defeat most people.
From homelessness to an advanced college degree
Paul was born and raised in Lewiston. 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, 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.
A job creating leader in Maine business
Governor LePage served as General Manager of Marden’s where he helped build the organization necessary to go from a handful of stores to locations throughout Maine, stores that became a favorite of bargain hunters and shopping adventurists alike. In doing so, he proved hundreds of jobs could be created in Maine, even in the middle of a recession.
Prior to joining Marden’s, Governor LePage successfully created jobs all over Maine with a private consultancy where 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. He was known as a turnaround expert for Maine businesses and he has taken those skills to the Governor’s office.
Mayor of Waterville
Next to escaping a life of poverty in Lewiston, one of Governor LePage’s greatest success stories was as Mayor of Waterville. As a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic 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. As a results the Democratic, Independent and small number of Republican voters in Waterville consistently re-elected him.
An attention to detail, focus on the big picture and a zeal for efficiency are business attributes that Governor LePage brought to public service at the municipal and now the State level.
Elected as Maine’s 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 in the seven-person 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 truthful message to victory on November 2, 2010.
Paul LePage was sworn in as Maine Governor on Wednesday, January 5, 2011.
As Maine’s Governor he dramatically lowered Maine’s unemployment rate, he has ushered in budget reforms to reduce wasteful spending, he cut the pension debt by over 40% in his first year, he created the largest tax cut in Maine history, he reformed welfare with a five year limit to ensure help is there for those who need it not just for those who want it, and he has raised awareness about domestic violence. Paul LePage is the living proof that actions speak louder than words.