Linda Lorraine Bean Dies At 82

Linda Lorraine Bean (April 28, 1941 – March 23, 2024) was an American businessperson and donor.

As a candidate of the Republican Party, Bean ran unsuccessfully for the United States Congress in 1988 and 1992. She was the granddaughter of Leon Leonwood Bean and an heiress to the L.L.Bean company.

Congressional campaigns

Bean ran twice for Congress, in 1988 and 1992. In 1988, Bean sought the Republican nomination for Maine’s 1st district of the House to challenge incumbent former Maine Governor Joseph Brennan. She ran under her married name 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 successfully, to challenge incumbent Democrat Thomas Andrews. She won the nomination but lost 65% to 35% in the general election.

Stances on women’s and LGBTQI rights

Linda Bean served as the vice chairman of the conservative group Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund for many years.

“Linda was known for her amazing work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit as well as her pride and dedication to her home state of Maine and L.L.Bean, the company her grandfather founded.” – Veronika Carlson, president of Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Hospitality

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In 2005, Bean gave $10,000 to the Maine Grassroots Coalition, whose goal was to repeal a Maine law making discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations, and education. Bean was also a fundraiser for the ERA Impact Coalition in Maine, which overturned the passage of the statewide Equal Rights Amendment in Maine in 1984.

In 2017, Bean, as part of The Conservative Action project, signed a Memo for the Movement called “Restoring America’s Military Strength: Military Readiness or Transgender Politics” calling on the U.S. Defense Department to “rescind Defense Department and military service directives permitting transgender individuals to serve” and for the Trump Administration to “discontinue funding and directing personnel resources for special-interest events, including LGBT-Pride Month events in June.”

Longtime Conservative Activism

In 1985, Linda Bean (then known as Linda Jones) accompanied Phyllis Schlafly and other American women’s organizations to the Geneva Summit meeting to support President Ronald Reagan on intercontinental ballistic missile defense issues discussed with Russian leader Gorbechev (Strategic Defense Initiative).

In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation, stated that Linda Bean was a member of the then-35-year-old “shadowy and intensely secretive group” the Council for National Policy; stating what is “most remarkable about the directory is that it reveals how the CNP has become a key meeting place where ostensibly mainstream conservatives interact with individuals who are, by any reasonable definition, genuinely extremist.”[29] She was a longtime member, having been invited to join the Council for National Policy established by Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese after the Reagan years.


In 2016, Bean donated $25,000 to Making Maine Great Again PAC, a group supporting then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Her donation led to calls for her to be removed from the board of L.L. Bean, though Bean herself clarified the donation was her own and not the company’s.

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In April 2020, Bean gave $12,500 to the Club for Growth Action PAC, which is known for donating to conservative liberty politicians and organizations.

Business interests

In 2007, Bean bought a wharf in Port Clyde for the purpose of starting her own lobster business. She later purchased others in Tenants Harbor and on the island of Vinalhaven. Her business eventually produced over nine million pounds of lobster annually.

In 2016, Bean partially retired and 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 she 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’s investment in the lobster industry was controversial. She argued for more lobster processing in Maine rather than in Canada, where more than half of Maine’s lobsters went for processing and sale by other companies to the U.S. and elsewhere.

Additionally, 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.[8] 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.”

In addition to the lobster industry, Bean’s interests included the timber and hospitality industries. She owned large tracts of timber in western Maine, including maple syrup producing sugarbushes in Weld and Wyman. The restaurants which she owned featured her grandfather’s camp recipes and her own lobster roll. The Portland International Airport features a Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster Cafe with a full lounge bar.

Her largest Maine restaurant was Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen & Topside Tavern located across from the L.L.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.

In April 2018, Bean opened an antiques stores in Freeport adjoining her grandfather’s former home under the name Freeport Antiques & Heirlooms Showcase. In 2019, the business expanded to include Casco Bay Auctions.

Some of her businesses in Port Clyde, which included the Port Clyde General Store and the Wyeth artwork, memorabilia lost in devastating Port Clyde fire- which sat atop the General Store and -, were destroyed by a fire in September 2023 and where not yet rebuilt at the time of her death in March 2024.

Three original paintings by Jamie Wyeth– “Snapper”, “Red tailed Hawk” and “With Green Pepper”– and one original N.C. Wyeth artwork which Bean recently acquired – the frontispiece illustration from Henry David Thoreau’s book “Men of Concord”– were destroyed in the fire.

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