Maine’s Governor Paul LePage wowed the audience at the 73rd annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show by advocating to bring back child labor. The Tea Party politician urged the trade show attendees to encourage children ages twelve to fourteen to begin working. LePage has also been quoted saying that Maine by allowing children to wait until 16 to legally work, the state is missing out on a valuable resource.
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Teenagers can legally work at age 16 in Maine, but can apply for a work permit to work at 14 or 15, if approved by their school superintendent after an application process which includes proving good grades in school. But at 16, LePlage criticizes that only two years later, youths qualify for fighting for our country, so why not work earlier?
Controversially, LePage brings up an even younger age, claiming that 12 is a suitable age to begin working, as he started working when he was 12 himself (he has been previously quoting to saying he began working at 11). LePlage is pushing for a less restricted application process for children younger than 16 to apply for work permits, which would have applicants go right to the Department of Labor in summer months.
Aside from his desire to reinstate child labor, LePlage has also pushed in the past for a lower minimum wage for students, at a rate of $5.25 an hour, rather than the $7.50 minimum wage. LePlage is currently up for reelection in Maine.