Imagine yourself homeless at age eleven. An eleven year old boy shining shoes to earn enough money to eat. What would your dreams be? Would you let them succumb to your reality or would you keep believing? Imagine yourself working in the local fairgrounds and hiding after work so that you could sneak back into the horse stalls to find a warm bed in the hay. As you lay alone in that stall at night, would you believe that you could fight for a better future or would you lie there, blame your circumstances, and let self-pity consume the light of hope?
Such were the choices that the young Paul LePage faced. Unfortunately, Mr. LePage’s early story is not unique to a large amount of our nation’s children who end up on the streets of our cities. What is unique is the decision that the young waif made in the midst of that desolation. Paul LePage decided to fight back…the right way. Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, young LePage resolved to work and earn his way free from the depressing and humiliating bonds of Maine’s entitlement system.
Paul LePage was born the oldest of eighteen children. The LePage family was very poor and lived under the constant threat of a drunken, abusive father. At the age of eleven, young Paul ran away from home to escape the abuse. He lived on the streets until the age of thirteen, earning money anyway he could from shining shoes to cleaning horse stalls.
Finally, two families took notice of the young street urchin’s industrious nature and put him to work. Eddy and Pauline Collins gave him a job washing dishes in their restaurant and housed the thirteen year old for part of the week. The rest of the week he stayed with Bruce and Joan Myrick and stacked boxes in Bruce’s Pepsi-cola delivery truck. Good people doing good deeds. It is one of the things that have always made America great. A hand up not a hand out was exactly what Paul LePage needed.
At some point, the teenager met Peter Snowe. Mr. Snowe is the late and first husband of Olympia Snowe. He took a liking to Paul Lepage and offered to pay for his first year of college tuition if he would finish his degree. Paul LePage promised and kept his promise.
Mr. LePage was raised speaking and reading French so passing the entrance exam was difficult. Mr. Snowe convinced Husson College to administer the exam in French. Once admitted, Paul LePage’s English speaking skills improved dramatically and he eventually graduated with honors.
In the years since then, Mr. LePage has worked throughout the state of Maine and Canada; his specialty, turning around businesses. He has also serves to this day as the general manager of Maine’s largest retailer, Mardens. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment is his highly successful leadership of the city of Waterville. As the Mayor, he has lowered the mil rate every year he has been in office. He has been successfully re-elected even in a strongly Democratic city. I think the spokesman for the LePage campaign said it best when he said that this proves citizens may believe in “Liberalism in theory but they embrace Conservatism when they see it in practice”.
I have heard Paul LePage speak multiple times in his visits to the Red County. While he may not be the most polished of speakers, he speaks directly and honestly. He’s a “no bull” kind of guy; in fact, he seems to be more comfortable with the tough one on one question forum. It is the street fighter in him.
This is a man who has been so far down he had to look up to see the bottom and, yet, he scrapped his way back up to success. Perhaps, a mountain of socialist debt is not too intimidating for him. The political elites don’t like him and don’t take him seriously. I don’t think Paul LePage really cares. I know this columnist doesn’t.
Maine citizens are faced with seemingly insurmountable odds in the recovery of our great State from the hands of the socialists. In the next four to eight years, we must engage in a political war in which the very future of this great State hangs in the balance. What kind of leader should lead the charge? One who has overcome those odds already or one who has not? Think about it …. Conservatively.