Maine’s first lady, Ann LePage, has taken a summer job as a waitress at McSeagulls restaurant in Boothbay Harbor to supplement the family income. Her goal is to purchase a new Toyota RAV4 SUV that she’s always wanted. Her husband, Paul LePage (Republican – Maine), earns $70,000 yearly, making him the lowest-paid governor in the United States.
Ann LePage said people expect something different from her because of who she’s married to but explained her reasons for working as a server, per NBC News.
“Oh honey, it’s all about the money.”
The first lady looked to her daughter, Lauren LePage, for inspiration. She had worked at McSeagulls last summer and made about $28 an hour serving food last year. Jackie Barnicoat, McSeagulls’ general manager, said Lauren said her mom wanted to try her hand at serving this summer. Lauren will be working at an internship in Bangor, so she won’t be waitressing this summer. Barnicoat decided to hire the first lady although she has no prior experience.
CNN reports that Maine’s first lady arrives at lunchtime every Monday, Thursday, and Friday and works six tables. Orders vary from clam chowder to lobster to pan-fried chicken. When it’s not so busy, Ann, like the other waitresses has a black cleaning bucket. Hers is labeled “Ann’s Pail.” There is an unspoken motto at McSeagulls, “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.”
Barnicoat said the work isn’t easy but that Ann LePage, who has been the first lady for five years, is an excellent worker, CNN added.
“It’s not just all fun and games. There’s a lot of grueling side work that comes with it and she doesn’t stop.”
There are customers who immediately recognize her, while others think she looks familiar but can’t quite make out who she is. After only three weeks on the job, the first lady has asked for double shirts. The general manager weighed in on who Ann LePage is to the people of Maine. Despite her celebrity, she wears a T-shirt and an apron, the standard uniform for waitresses at McSeagulls, CNN also noted.
“We didn’t really tell anybody who she was. She is the governor’s wife, but she has a lot of fans in this state.”
The $70,000 that Paul LePage makes isn’t a lot, and he tried to get a bill passed to double the governor’s salary in 2019 after his term ends. It wasn’t successful.
The first lady’s husband is a controversial and polarizing figure. He has threatened to end his state’s food stamp program because people buy junk food. About 20 percent of Maine citizens receive food stamps.
Paul LePage’s words were not lost on the New York Daily News, which reported that he must be fine with others eating junk food because his wife is now serving it at McSeagulls. The governor is also known for mocking the accents of immigrant customer service agents and stating that drug dealer come to Maine and impregnate young “white girls.” When confronted on his comments, he said he had misspoken. He barely avoided impeachment earlier this year.
Ann LePage may be well-liked by many, but she is not without her own issues. Although the first lady says the family budget is tight, she maintained a second home in Florida but earned a tax break in Maine. She avoided paying $1,400 in back property taxes on the Florida residence by an obscure loophole in the law.
[Image via Robert F. Bukaty/AP]