His story isn’t new. However, it’s one that’s been embellished. Sometimes it’s important to shine a little truth around, to at least temper some of the misinformation.
I find it telling that Governor Paul LePage, the recipient of largesse from benefactors when he was in his teens, continues to further his own twisted ideology and war on the poor, this time on the backs of 19 and 20-year-olds. In essence that’s what he attempted to do, except that a federal appeals court ruled that it was illegal, on Monday.
In Colin Woodard’s lengthy, two-part profile on LePage back in January 2012, “The Making of Paul LePage, for the pre-Portland Sun, Portland Phoenix, we learn that the governor nearing his high school graduation at 18, had “poor grades.” He’s also admitted that “his verbal score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was just 300. He had been involved in no extra-curricular activities. A high-school guidance counselor advised him to become a painter, like his father.” There’s nothing there to indicate that the young LePage had much going for him. He certainly wasn’t “job-ready” for the jobs available to many 19 and 20-year-olds today. Back in 1966, however, there were plenty of factory jobs and others for an 18-year-old to eke out a living, doing.
Of course, we now know that fate intervened for 18-year-old Paul LePage. Instead of becoming a working stiff, he rose up through the ranks of the white collar world, ascending to the governorship of Maine.
LePage had a benefactor named Peter Snowe (the late first husband of former Senator, Olympia Snowe—Peter died in a car accident in 1973, and Olympia ran successfully to replace him in the Maine House), who had just won a seat in the state legislature. He rescued LePage from a fate that most lousy high school students with 300 SAT scores face—a life of work, if they’re lucky. They rarely become governor, and get to piss down the backs of others who weren’t as fortunate (lucky).
But back to the “story.” Snowe told LePage to “find a college that will accept you, and I will make sure your first year is paid for.”
LePage apparently applied to 50 schools, and received 50 rejection letters. Again, his “angel,” Snowe, intervened. He advocated on LePage’s behalf with the founder of Husson College in Bangor, Chesley Husson, to “grant his lanky young mentee an interview. “
Husson met with LePage and agreed to bend the rules, allowing him to take an aptitude test in French. According to Woodard’s article, LePage indicates, “I did very well and they accepted me,” LePage noted that he was placed on academic probation “so they could bounce me if I didn’t live up to the grade.”
From LePage’s own lips, he admitted to a Tea Party gathering in January, 2010 that “If it wasn’t for Peter Snowe, seriously, I would still be in generational poverty. I would still be on the streets and I would still be on welfare.”
The reality for most of the 19 to 20-year-olds that the governor wants to yank the safety net out from under, they are far from being “job-ready” (a term Mary Mayhew and other LePage lackeys like to throw around).
This would simply relegate them fates like homelessness, and certainly not a successful future like he was offered through the largesse of people like Peter Snowe and others. That’s far from the norm, and was an example of lady luck smiling down on the governor.
Of course, now that he’s been successful and benefited from good luck, he prefers to deny others the basics, who aren’t quite as lucky. What does that say about a man like Paul LePage, and all those who applaud his heartlessness?