SCARBOROUGH — State Rep. Peggy Pendleton announced this week she will retire at the end of this legislative session.
Pendleton, a Democrat who lives on Holmes Road, is currently in her second consecutive term representing House District 128. But her career in the Legislature spans 18 years, including four terms as a state senator.
School Board Chairman Brian Dell’Olio said he will seek the Democratic nomination to succeed Pendleton.
“The economy and job growth in our state has got to be the number one priority,” Dell’Olio said Wednesday.
Pendleton said she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband and grandchildren, and supports Dell’Olio’s candidacy.
Dell’Olio, 27, chief operations manager for North Atlantic Securities, said his job has given him experience dealing with clients and their accounts and managing the office budget. His business and financial accomplishments, combined with his School Board service and a bachelors degree in politics from Marymount University in Arlington, Va., have provided him with the experience he needs to serve effectively as a state representative, he said.
“I know what it’s like to make payroll and create jobs,” Dell’Olio said. “I have an employee whose salary depends on my ability to execute my job well – that experience is invaluable when dealing with taxes and employment at the state level.”
With an aging and declining population, Dell’Olio said it is imperative for Maine to take “aggressive steps to jump-start job growth” and increase revenue just to maintain the level of service. He said he would like to see the state recruit well-known, stable businesses as a first step to attracting and keeping young professionals who are willing to invest in their communities.
While he said he understands the state had to make some cuts in education aid, Dell’Olio said the mid-year timing has been difficult for school districts and what he called the inequity in the funding formula has been “frustrating.” Scarborough took a $1.1 million hit in state education aid.
“That formula needs to be looked at,” he said. “The state needs to be more responsible how (the cuts) get distributed.”
Though Dell’Olio classifies both himself and Pendleton as “conservative democrats,” he said his focus will be on economic development, diversification of tax revenue and adequate funding for education. Pendleton, he said, with a long career in nursing, has focused more on health issues and, as a member of the Committee on Marine Resources, issues that affect the local fishermen.
Pendleton, in an e-mail, said she is “behind (Dell’Olio) 100 percent.”
“I am so glad that Brian is running for my seat,” she said. “Brian will bring a common-sense approach to government that will focus on job growth, aggressive steps towards economic development and through his work on the School Board, a true understanding of how education works on the local level.”
Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.