SCARBOROUGH — Two candidates are running to represent House District 128, which covers a landlocked western portion of town, up against the borders of Gorham, South Portland and Saco.
The seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. Peggy Pendleton, who is not seeking a second term.
Democratic candidate and School Board Chairman Brian Dell’Olio is running against Republican community organizer Heather Sirocki.
Dell’Olio, 28, grew up in Scarborough, graduated from Scarborough High School, and went on to Marymount University in Virginia for a degree in political science.
He has served on the Scarborough Board of Education for three years, two as chairman, and on the Scarborough 350th Committee. He is currently on the board of the Scarborough Kiwanis Club and works for his family’s company, North Atlantic Securities, as an operations manager.
Dell’Olio said his experience crafting three school budgets has given him insight into the budget process.
“Government budgets are really a list of priorities,” he said.
He said he maintains three basic philosophies on budgets: We can’t spend more than we bring in, aggressive economic development must remain the top priority and we must ensure that we get the best value out of every dollar we spend.
He said he would like to see the formula for school funding be reworked so Scarborough is not left with million-dollar budget gaps to fill. He said the state’s pension funding will also need to be reworked and should be discussed as part of this year’s budget.
“A system allowing employees to take their retirement savings from public to private and vice-versa does not harm a 10-year state employee who decides it may be time to do something else. The current system does,” Dell’Olio said, adding that portability within the pension system would alleviate some of the current issues.
When asked if he would support a gay marriage bill, Dell’Olio said he believes the government should not be involved in the lives of its citizens down to the level of deciding whether consenting adults can get married.
Sirocki, 51, has lived in Scarborough since 1984 and is a registered dental hygienist and a member of several community organizations. She is the booster president for the Gym Dandies children’s circus, has served on the band boosters since 2003 and is an active member of the Blue Point Congregational Church.
Sirocki and her husband, Stephen, who is an engineer at Fairchild Semiconductor, have three children. She graduated from Westbrook College in 1980 with an associate’s degree in dental hygiene.
Sirocki said all programs, including public education, need to be closely examined to find areas that could be made more efficient. She said she supports charter schools and a strong public education system. She would like to see the size of the Legislature reduced by one third, from 151 to 99 representatives.
Sirocki said she would research what other states have done in response to pension crises, citing Utah’s reform that she said included a fixed state contribution of 10 percent of an employee’s salary and allowing employees to opt out of the state pension in favor of a 401(k).
“I have advocated for a better school calendar to maximize classroom time, which resulted in the reduction of the number of early release days,” said Sirocki, adding that she also spearheaded a successful campaign last spring against borrowing for the high school laptop computer program through the capital improvement plan.
Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or email@example.com