Maine Governor Paul LePage made more controversial remarks on Thursday night, leaving an expletive-filled message in the voicemail box of State Senator Drew Gattine, urging the Democrat to prove that he is racist. Since being elected in 2010, LePage has gained national attention for his controversial remarks, once saying that 90 percent of drug dealers arrested in his state are black or Hispanic. He is also a strong Donald Trump supporter, introducing the Republican presidential nominee during an August rally in Maine.
Here’s a look at LePage’s life and career.
1. LePage’s First Language Was French & Once Suggested Using the Guillotine to Carry Out the Death Penalty
When LePage was elected, he became the state’s first Franco-American governor since 1879, the Press Herald reported in 2010. During one gubernatorial debate, he even addressed the crowd in French.
He grew up in Lewiston and was homeless at age 11. During the 1970s, he worked for his first wife’s family, who owned a lumber company in New Brunswick, Canada. At the time of his election, he was general manager of Marden’s, a surplus and salvage discount retail chain in Maine. He was also mayor of Waterville until he was elected in 2010.
Ahead of a town hall in January, LaPage told WMOV that he supported the death penalty and suggested that the guillotine come back.
“What we ought to do is bring the guillotine back. We could have public executions and we could even have which hole it falls in,” LePage said, notes New York Magazine. “I like French history.”
The death penalty was first struck down in Maine in 1897 and the U.S. never used the guillotine.
2. He Called Gold-Star Father Khizr Khan a ‘Con Artist’ Who Is Using the Death of His Son to Attack Trump
Earlier this week, LePage was on conservative radio host Howie Carr’s show, where he complained about Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father whose son Humayun Khan died in Iraq. Since Khan and his wife appeared at the Democratic National Convention, he has harshly criticized Trump, who called for a Muslim ban.
“Then there’s the all mighty powerful ones like Mr. Khan — which is a con artist himself, and he uses the death of his son, who’s an American soldier, which we respect and honor, and he uses that to go after Trump, which I found very distasteful,” LePage told Carr, notes MPBN.
LaPage has also said that he opposes letting Syrian refugees into Maine. He said in a statement in November:
To bring Syrian refugees into our country without knowing who they are is to invite an attack on American soil just like the one we saw in Paris last week and in New York City on 9/11. That is why I adamantly oppose any attempt by the federal government to place Syrian refugees in Maine, and will take every lawful measure in my power to prevent it from happening. The safety of Maine citizens comes first, and it is about time the United States and Europe wake up to the nature of the threat against us in the form of radical terrorism.
3. He’s The Lowest-Paid Governor in the Country, so His Wife Ann Worked as a Waitress This Summer
With a $70,000 salary, LaPage is the lowest-paid governor in the country, far below the $135,000 average. So his wife Ann LaPage took a job at McSeagulls, a restaurant at Boothbay Harbor.
“Because of who I am and who I’m married to, I want to work extra hard just so I can show them I can do the job,” Ann LaPage told the Associated Press.
In an interview with WGME, Ann LePage wasn’t shy about admitting that she took the job for the money.
“Oh honey, it’s all about the money; it’s all about the money. I told him (Governor Paul LePage) my money I earn here I’m putting in a kitty. I want to buy a car this summer,” she said.
“My daughter last year, she’s in law school, she made $28 an hour working in Boothbay as a waitress, server,” LePage said at a town hall. “She did so well, my wife, the first lady, to supplement the governor’s salary is waitressing this summer. I’m kidding — not kidding really.”
4. He Stands By His Remarks That ’90 Percent’ of Drug Dealers Arrested in the State are Black & Hispanic
The battle against drugs has been one of LePage’s top priorities as governor. In January, he made remarks that were considered racist by many.
These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. These types of guys, they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.
On August 24, LePage insisted at a town hall that “90-plus percent” of the drug dealers caught in Maine are “black and Hispanic people” from out of state, reports the Press Herald. He said:
Let me tell you this, explain to you, I made the comment that black people are trafficking in our state, now ever since I said that comment I’ve been collecting every single drug dealer who has been arrested in our state. I don’t ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison, but they come and I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ringed binder, are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Conn., the Bronx and Brooklyn.
CNN reports that, when a member of the town hall audience suggested that minorities are being arrested more than whites might be due to racial profiling, LePage didn’t buy that. “There are a whole lot of white girls, too. A whole lot of white girls,” he said. “In fact, almost every single picture is a white Maine girl in the picture.”
5. LePage Survived a Failed Impeachment Attempt in January 2016
In January 2016, the State House of Representatives tried to impeach LePage, but the attempt failed. Rep. Ben Chipman backed an eight-count impeachment order, which listed actions legislators saw as abuses of power.
“I wish we didn’t have to do this, but unfortunately, the governor has put us in the position through his actions and his behavior that we have no other alternative. We have to go forward with this, and we must hold him accountable,” Chipman told WMTW.
One accusation against LePage was that he allegedly withheld funding for the Good Will-Hinckley charter school after it hired House Speaker Mark Eves, a Democrat, as president. While there was an investigation into the matter, LePage didn’t face any charges.
In the 2010 election, the Tea Party-backed LePage won with 37.6 percent, beating two Independent candidates and a Democratic opponent. In 2014, LePage earned 48.2 percent of the vote, beating his Democrat and Independent challengers.