Mary’s Story

Mary Mayhew, a native of Pittsfield, Maine, is a Republican candidate for Governor of Maine. 

Appointed by Governor Paul R. LePage in 2011 to be the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, Mary Mayhew stepped down in May 2017 to announce her candidacy. No other candidate for Governor has her specific knowledge of the state’s budget, programs, challenges, resources, or legislative process. Mary understands that leaders need to be able to set priorities, establish goals, benchmark performance and make difficult choices because she has undertaken these tasks and successfully accomplished what she has set out to do.

Commissioner of Health and Human Services

Mayhew served more than six years at the helm of the state’s largest agency, overseeing a more than $3.4 billion budget and 3,400 employees.  She managed the many of the state’s most vital programs,  including MaineCare (Maine’s Medicaid program), Aging and Disability Services, Child Welfare, Adult Protective Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Food Stamps (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), child support enforcement, agency licensure and public health.

Under her leadership, guidance and policy direction, Mary Mayhew spearheaded the LePage Administration’s welfare reform efforts by implementing time limits and work requirements to help people onto a pathway of prosperity and out of poverty and government dependency. Mayhew increased the Department’s focus on fraud prevention, detection and prosecution to protect taxpayer funding of these safety-net programs for vulnerable adults and families in need of assistance.

Having inherited an agency in constant financial crisis, Mayhew led the department in establishing effective program prioritization and financial management practices. Her leadership halted more than a decade of multi-million dollar budget shortfalls and stabilized Medicaid spending to focus on core priorities of serving the needs of people with disabilities, our elderly and our children. This fiscal stability helped Governor LePage create a budget surplus for the state.

As commissioner, Mayhew implemented innovative reforms in Maine’s Medicaid program, moving away from a sole focus on claims processing to demonstrating value and improved health outcomes for the $2.4 billion spent annually on more than 280,000 Mainers. Her agency accomplished this through investments in primary care and innovative care models designed to improve management of chronic diseases, integrate behavioral and physical health and reduce inappropriate use of healthcare services. When she stepped down to announce her run for governor, nearly 40 percent of Maine’s Medicaid population had its care coordinated. This approach has led to many positive outcomes, including an increase in preventative screening, a 10-percent reduction in inappropriate emergency department use, and nearly 17 percent cost avoidance for members whose care is coordinated.

Because of her desire to strengthen and support at-risk families, Mayhew focused on a holistic approach to improve the integration of services across the Department. Mayhew has prioritized the implementation of a nationally recognized evidence-based model to guide improved decision-making and case prioritization within child welfare.

With a keen focus on data analytics and data-informed decision-making, her agency prioritized measurable performance outcomes to assure taxpayer funds are accomplishing meaningful goals for those served by the Department.

Prior to her appointment, Mayhew was the Senior Health Policy Advisor for the Administration.

Private Sector Experience

Before serving in the LePage Administration, Mayhew served for 11 years as vice president of the Maine Hospital Association.  She was previously a partner in the public affairs firm of Hawkes & Mayhew, based in Augusta, and also served as a manager of state government relations for Equifax Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia. She was a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C. for Congressman William Alexander.

Mayhew was born in Pittsfield, Maine. Her mother worked as a nurse’s aide, and her father was a foreman at a local manufacturing company. He also was chairman of the school board and a community leader. At 14, her family moved to Arkansas to care for her mother’s aging parents.

At 17, she moved to Washington, D.C. to become a congressional page and finish high school.  Her graduation included a Rose Garden reception with President Ronald Reagan. She then enrolled at the University of Arkansas, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science. Her father passed away when she was 19. After working in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia, she moved back to Maine in 1990.

About Mary

Mary lives in China, Maine with her two sons, Cameron and Chance.

The Maine Heritage Policy Center Awarded Mayhew its 2014 Freedom and Opportunity Award for her accomplishments at DHHS. The Maine Heritage Policy Center presents the award annually to the Maine citizen who has best demonstrated a core commitment to the principles of Freedom and Opportunity that serve to improve the economic well-being of Maine.