BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine — Monday marked the first day of summer and a time when thousands of Mainers pick up jobs during the busy tourism season. Many of those jobs are in the restaurant industry.
At McSeagull’s in Boothbay Harbor, the ocean air is brisk and so is business.
“Everyone is ready for summertime,” said General Manager Jackie Barnicoat.
From tourists on the pier to boats in the marina, sights of summer in Vacationland are all around.
But one sight is taking some at McSeagull’s by surprise.
This vacation destination by the sea is serving up a side of celebrity.
“People expect something different of you because of who I’m married to,” said Maine’s first lady Ann LePage.
“I had no idea it was Ann LePage. I didn’t recognize her,” said one of LePage’s customers, Clayton Eames.
Perhaps customers are more used to seeing Mrs. LePage with her husband on election night, the inauguration stage — or maybe reading to kids and raising money for veterans
“They said you look so familiar,” LePage said.
That familiar face is sporting a new summer look, T-shirt and apron, and is now taking orders on the midcoast.
“It’s something I always, always wanted to do,” LePage said.
Like many Mainers, LePage said she got a seasonal job to make a little extra money.
“Oh honey, it’s all about the money. I told him (Gov. LePage) my money I earn here I’m putting in a kitty. I want to buy a car this summer,” she said.
According to the Maine Department of Labor, more than 10,000 seasonal employees are hired in Maine every year to work at restaurants and bars.
“It’s a big business in Maine in the summer — particularly on the coast,” said Gov. LePage during a recent town hall.
During that town hall, Gov. LePage also mentioned his wife’s summer gig.
“My daughter last year, she’s is in law school, she made $28 an hour working in Boothbay as a waitress, server. 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,” Gov. LePage said.
They may be the first family, but when it comes to household income, they’re down on the list.
According to US Census data, the average yearly income for a married-couple family in Maine is about $87,000. As governor, LePage gets a salary of $70,000, making him the lowest paid governor in the country.
Until now, Mrs. LePage hasn’t had an outside job while her husband has been in office. Instead she has focused all her attention on first lady duties.
“It’s tight sometimes,” she said.
From the Blaine House to Boothbay Harbor, first lady LePage is adding a new special to her public service menu.
“I think I’m going to sign up for some doubles,” she said.
Her manager is giving her rave reviews.
“She’s an amazing employee. I’m a big fan; love having her on board,” Barnicoat said.
In March, Gov. LePage proposed increasing the salary for future governors from $70,000 to $150,000. It would be the first raise for Maine’s governor since 1987.
Two years ago, Gov. and Mrs. LePage bought a house in Boothbay.