Paul LePage, the former two-term Republican governor of Maine, may be working as a bartender at McSeagull’s Restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, but he says he is “not out of the game yet” and is still considering a run for governor in 2022.
LePage previously made reference to a 2022 campaign in an interview with WVOM Radio last November, when he said that if Gov. Janet Mills did not implement Medicaid expansion in a sustainable way, he would be back to run for governor again.
LePage, in an interview at McSeagull’s before his shift on Saturday, June 29, said his main complaint about the current administration is the fiscal policy.
“I’m a little disappointed with the amount of irresponsible fiscal policy that’s been developed. I’m very concerned about it. Spending is outrageous. Nursing homes are closing. They’re not taking care of the elderly. … People are not getting services, but they’re providing for illegal immigrants coming from the southern border. It makes no sense to me,” LePage said.
“I don’t have a problem helping people, but I’d help my family before my neighbor,” LePage said, referencing the recent influx of asylum-seekers to Portland.
The Bangor Daily News reported last December that, according to the Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, six nursing homes closed in 2018, in Jonesport, Patten, West Paris, Fryeburg, Bridgton, and Freeport.
An asylum-seeker is someone whose request for sanctuary has yet to be processed, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says asylum-seekers request “protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution” because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
While an application for asylum is being considered, asylum-seekers are considered to be residing in the country legally, but they cannot work until six months after they file their claim.
LePage said he decided to take the bartending job this summer to spend more time with his wife, Ann LePage, who has been working at McSeagull’s as a server for the past four years. He started work about three weeks ago, he said.
“She wanted to work here this summer and I didn’t want to be home alone all summer, you know what I mean?” LePage said.
LePage said he only works three days a week, about 24 hours, as a bartender, but the job seems to be keeping the former governor in the public eye.
LePage said the majority of the customers have been very friendly and many ask to take a picture with him. He has only had two hecklers, he said.
“I’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of pictures. It’s fine. I mean, I love it. I don’t mind it, unless it gets busy, then it gets harder and harder,” LePage said.
LePage said he has some experience from bartending in college.
“When I was bartending in college, everything was a 7-and-7, rum-and-coke. Now it’s all these special drinks with all kinds of sugar in them. … I like to make the rum bucket because I like to watch them drink it and see if they’re still walking afterwards,” LePage said.
Of whether he favors his wife’s orders when making drinks at work, LePage said he does not know which server an order comes from because of the way the system is set up.
“I don’t know where the drinks come from, because what happens is they put the drinks into a computer and a little ticket pops up and you just make the drink,” he said.
LePage said the couple is renting a house in Boothbay, but looking to buy somewhere between Damariscotta and Boothbay. The couple also owns a house in Florida that LePage said will serve as their winter home.
Lepage said he and his wife will only be working for the season at McSeagull’s, up until around Labor Day, and then they will just “hang around and be retired.”
“My wife’s been working here four years and she really has made a lot of friends and she just loves to come back and work. She just enjoys it. And why not? After eight years of being a governor’s wife, it’s time she had fun,” LePage said.