This year, her 58-year-old mother is following in her footsteps to make some extra dough during the profitable tourist season.
“Oh honey, it’s all about the money; it’s all about the money,” LePage told CBS affiliate WGME. “I told him (Governor Paul LePage) my money I earn here I’m putting in a kitty. I want to buy a car this summer.”
What kind of car? Not a Mercedes or a Range Rover — the political elite’s preferred modes of transportation — but a Toyota RAV 4, the kind of modest SUV a person apparently buys when their spouse is the lowest-paid governor in all 50 states, according to the AP.
As governor, LePage’s annual salary is $70,000 a year. The average yearly income for a married-couple family in Maine is about $87,000, according to U.S. Census data.
Earlier this year, the governor proposed more than doubling the salary of future governors to $150,000, which would be the job’s first pay raise since 1987, according to WGME.
In the meantime, his wife has joined the ranks of more than 10,000 or more seasonal employees in Maine, many of whom land temporary jobs at restaurants and bars, the station reported.
“It’s a big business in Maine in the summer — particularly on the coast,” LePage said during a recent town hall, according to WGME.
“My daughter last year, she’s in law school, she made $28 an hour working in Boothbay as a waitress, server,” he added. “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.”
Ann LePage told the AP that waitressing is “something I’ve always, always wanted to do.” Previously, she told WGME, she had spent her time on “first lady duties.” Without a second income, she noted, “it’s tight sometimes.”
Now that she’s entered the workforce, Ann LePage said her next challenge is proving herself. She’s already working three days a week, the AP reported, but she’s asking for more shifts, where she’ll continue to serve dishes like the “Lobster Chicken Bomb” and “Off The Wall Cheeseburger Pizza.”
“Because of who I am and who I’m married to, I want to work extra hard just so I can show them I can do the job,” she said.
Her manager told WGME that the first lady’s work ethic is already apparent.
“She’s an amazing employee,” general manager Jackie Barnicoat said. “I’m a big fan; love having her on board.”
LePage told the AP that she doesn’t reveal her political identity to people unless they inquire first. Even so, some customers — who are used to seeing the first lady raising money for veterans or making public appearances on television — have their suspicions.
“I knew, that’s why I kept staring!” exclaimed Nina Stoddard, a Republican, to the AP.
Stoddard’s friend, Laurie Green, told the AP that she loved the example the first lady was setting.
“I really hate a lot of our politicians nowadays that have the wealth, the money,” said Green, who identified herself as an unaffiliated voter. “They have no clue what the average person out in the world is doing.”