House District 127: Volk challenges incumbent Flaherty in Scarborough

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SCARBOROUGH — The election in House District 127 is between Democratic incumbent Rep. Sean Flaherty and Republican candidate Amy Volk.

The district covers coastal Scarborough, including Scarborough Marsh, Pine and Black points, to the borders with Saco and Cape Elizabeth.

Sean Flaherty

Flaherty, 25, is running for a second term after beating Republican John McDonough in 2008. He serves on the House Utilities and Energy Committee.

Flaherty is a life-long resident of Scarborough and graduated from Scarborough schools, going on to George Washington University on a swimming scholarship. He has been a swimming coach for Scarborough and for Maine Swimming, is a member of the board of Project GRACE and the New Leader’s Council.

Flaherty said in his first term the Legislature approved, with bipartisan support, two balanced budgets, neither of which raised taxes. He said he is confident the state will be able to balance the budget again by streamlining the cost of government and reducing wasteful spending.

He added that priorities include ensuring continuation of services such as education, road and bridge maintenance and property tax rebates.

“I fought to make sure Scarborough got its fair share of state resources for our schools,” Flaherty said. “I worked to ensure that the property tax rebates would be fully funded again.”

He said the school funding formula should be thrown out and replaced.

Flaherty said he would support blending Social Security benefits into the state pension system, which he said would save the state millions of dollars. He emphasized that there is no silver bullet to solve the pension crisis, but that he would work for a bipartisan solution.

Flaherty said he would support marriage equality if a bill comes up again, citing the 2009 vote in which the majority of Scarborough voters voted no on Question 1. He said he believes all people must be treated equally under the law and that the state should not be in the business of defining love.

Flaherty said he would support creating “a diverse and sound energy policy for Maine,” including incentives for homeowners and businesses to become energy efficient while promoting domestic energy production like on- and off-shore wind, tidal and bio-mass.

“I think I best represent the desire of people in the district to move Maine forward,” Flaherty said.

Amy Volk

Volk, 41, has lived in Scarborough for 11 years and is married to Derek Volk, the owner of Volk Packaging in Biddeford. For 10 years she has run a small home business called Personally Yours, which does custom printing of stationery and business cards, has been a volunteer with the prayer group Moms in Touch, and is on the board of directors for the Root Cellar, a faith-based community assistance group in Portland.

Volk has four children, has coached Little League and been a substitute teacher in Scarborough schools.

Volk said her more than 20 years of experience managing a household budget, as well as work for the Children’s Theater of Maine and the Root Cellar, would be her model  for working on the state budget. Volk said she would like to see Maine get its spending more in line with other rural states.

“We spend 101 percent more on welfare than they do in other rural states,” Volk said. “We need to look long-term to reforming welfare.”

She also said the state’s MaineCare system needs to be reformed to fit within federal guidelines.

Volk said the state’s pension system needs to be fully funded from this point on and that it must be fully reformed. She cited  a recently passed pension reform package in Utah and said she has e-mailed the senator who drafted the bill to see how he went about it.

Volk said she would not support another gay marriage bill because she does not believe it is right to begin redefining a word based on 2010 norms. She said, however, that she would support a bill that allows a new term to be introduced that would define marriage between same-sex couples and entitles them to the same rights as married couples.

Volk said her top issue is creating a business-friendly environment in Maine and cited the work of the Scarborough Economic Development Corp. as a model. She said she would like to see a Maine version of the independent economic development corporation and that she would work to reduce taxes, health-care costs and regulations on businesses, and streamline permitting and energy costs.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

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