Linda Lorraine Bean (born April 28, 1941) is a Maine businessperson, donor, and former political candidate of the Republican Party. She ran unsuccessfully for the United States Congress in 1988 and 1992. She is the granddaughter of Leon Leonwood Bean and an heiress to the L.L.Bean company.
Bean is part owner of LL Bean Inc. and serves on its Board of Directors. Bean also entered the Maine lobster business in 2007 at the age of 66, starting with buying one wharf in Port Clyde and adding others in Tenants Harbor and on the island of Vinalhaven and relationships up and down the Maine coast to an annual peak purchase of over 9 million pounds. In 2016 in a partial retirement move she turned over majority ownership of her lobster enterprises to her general manager and employees in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). With John Hathaway, in whose Shucks Maine Lobster business with an HPP processing method she is also invested, Bean took the lead in achieving sustainability certification for the entire Maine coast trap lobster fishery by meeting the standards of the Marine Stewardship Council as announced by its founder Rupert Howes and by Maine Governor Paul LePage on March 10, 2013 at the International Boston Seafood Show.
Bean is also a business figure in western Maine timberland ownership and management, including maple syrup producing sugarbushes in Weld and prospectively in Wyman, Maine. Her brand name enterprise Linda Bean's Perfect Maine, encompasses offerings of Maine vacation rental cottages and wedding locations, and various businesses in midcoast Maine including two traditional Maine general stores in St. George. in 2015 she initiated Linda Bean's Maine Wyeth Gallery in Port Clyde, and personally scripted Wyeths by Water art excursions on her converted lobster boat "Linderin Losh." She owns the Seaside Inn and Barn Cafe in Port Clyde, the Dip Net wharf restaurant and nearby historic Ocean House and Dining Room. Her restaurants feature her grandfather's camp recipes and her own Perfect Maine® lobster roll that has sold over 2 million since she introduced it in Freeport, Maine, in 2008 with a dusting of her own secret herbs blend. The Portland International Airport features a Linda Bean's Maine Lobster Cafe with a full lounge bar. Her restaurant and Internet brand features her lobster bisque, lobster raviolis and other lobster specialties, several Maine coffees, Maine sea salt, Maine Pepper Maple Pinch™, Maine Blueberry BBQ Sauce, and Maine Maple BBQ Sauce. Her largest Maine restaurant, a 3-story operation open 7 days a week year-round with three shifts, is Linda Bean's Maine Kitchen & Topside Tavern located across from the LL Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine, the original site of a tavern built there in 1790. On September 27, 2010, Bean purchased the original tavern location from a retired fellow Freeport native George Denney, who started his career in her grandfather's store and went on to purchase a little known Freeport shoe company brand, Cole Haan, that he sold to Nike.
Bean's Wyeth art and business interest, coupled with previous trusteeships in the arts and conservation, brought her in 2014 to the attention of the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where she serves on its Board of Trustees. In her home state she has served as a trustee of the Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Maine Historical Society, and the Portland Museum of Art. In 2016 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by The Kings College in Manhattan. She currently serves the Board of Trustees of Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Wilmington, Delaware, and the Board of Trustees of Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund, Alton, Illinois.
Bean's business dealings have not been without controversy. She has argued for more processing in Maine rather than in Canada, where more than half of Maine's lobsters currently go for processing and sale by other companies to the U.S. and elsewhere. That worries some of possible damage to relationships with Canadian businesses. An undercover video taken by PETA allegedly at one of the Maine Lobster processing plants showed workers ripping limbs off live lobsters, raising questions of animal cruelty. A lawyer for Bean told the Portland Press Herald that "Our practices do not violate Maine's laws on cruelty to animals because lobsters do not come within the covered definition."
Publisher of The Maine Paper
Bean served as publisher of The Maine Paper, a conservative newspaper published from 1979 to 1982.
Candidate for Congress
Bean twice (1988 and 1992) sought to become the U.S. Congresswoman from Maine's 1st congressional district. She was unable to win the seat in either election.
In 1988, Bean sought the Republican nomination for the United States House of Representatives to challenge incumbent former Maine Governor Joseph Brennan. She ran under her married named of Linda Bean Jones. She outspent her opponent, Edward S. O'Meara, by $395,000 but narrowly lost.
Bean ran again in 1992 for the Republican nomination, this time to challenge incumbent Democrat Thomas Andrews. She won the nomination but lost 65% to 35% in the general election.
2016 donation to Donald Trump
In 2016, Bean donated $25,000 to Elect Donald Trump, via Making Maine Great Again PAC, a federal superpac established by Maine Republican David Jones. The donation became controversial causing an anti-Trump entity in California to demand she be removed from the Board at LL Bean. She appeared on Fox News Channel to clarify the origin of the donation being her own, not the company's.