LePage Widely Criticized for 'Nepotism'
Democrats and political observers are coming down hard on Governor-elect Paul LePage for the decision to appoint his 22-year-old daughter, Lauren LePage, to a position in his administration making $41,000 a year.
The hiring, first reported by the Bangor Daily News, was quickly attacked as a "brazen display of political nepotism" by Maine Democratic Party executive director Mary Erin Casale.
"Gov.-elect LePage made a promise to hire the 'best and the brightest', but it would seem that only his friends and family need apply," said Casale in a release. "Who else was considered for this position? How was it advertised? Why is an entry level position being paid $41,000 per year? These are questions that Mainers deserve answered."
The Maine College Democrats, a group that would probably know the kind of job market available in politics for a recent graduate, sent out their own statement with similarly harsh language.
"Giving your daughter a job running the cash register at Marden's is fine when you answer to no one except yourself, but the people of Maine expect more out of their state employees, and much better judgment from their Governor," said MCD President Ben Goodman. He also noted that the 2008 median household income for a family in Maine was $46,419.
Lauren LePage has a degree in biology and, according to a LePage spokesperson, she gained policy experience working on the campaign and the transition.
The position she has been hired to, assistant to gubernatorial chief of staff John McGough, is an administrative job which, during the current administration, has seen sub-$30,000 entry-level salaries.
According to Maine Public Radio, Lauren LePage will also be living at the state-owned Blaine House along with her father.
It wasn't just political partisans that spoke out against the hiring.
UMaine Political Science professor Amy Fried tweeted that the appointment was "terribly politically tone-deaf in this era of austerity."
Colby College professor Sandy Maisel was even more dissaproving in the pages of the Press Herald: "It almost takes your breath away that (LePage) doesn't understand the problem here," said Maisel. "Special assistant to the chief of staff, who is a crony? It is really mind-boggling."
Maisel also noted that such hiring would be illegal in most states.