Bangor and Penobscot County residents may be wondering why two of the folks running for office this election season have the same last name. Amy Faircloth and Sean Faircloth are great friends. They also happen to be ex-spouses, and the proud co-parents of two grown sons, and each is very supportive of the other’s political aspirations. In fact, Sean has been more than happy to deliver Amy’s “Amy Faircloth for Probate Judge” signs for her!
Sean says, “I’ve known Amy since we met in law school. She is absolutely honest and, more important, kind. She is disarmingly down to earth, while being as smart as, or smarter than, those with perhaps a more pompous air about them.”
Amy Faircloth, who is hoping to become the first female Probate Judge for Penobscot County, is an attorney with over 25 years experience. She began her career as a law clerk for the Maine Superior Court in Penobscot County, then as an associate for Vafiades, Brountas & Kominsky in Bangor, and, since 1995 as a partner in the law firm, Pelletier & Faircloth, specializing in family law in both District and Probate Courts.
Amy is also an attorney for the Penobscot Nation Child Support Enforcement Agency and the domestic violence legal advocate for the Penobscot Nation Domestic Violence Program. She is a board member for the Bangor Humane Society and a School Board Member for RSU 22, Hampden, Winterport, Newburgh and Frankfort. She has volunteered for countless Bangor area organizations and fundraisers. She is also the co-author of a fabulous novel, Wicked Good, the story of a single mom and her 15-year-old son who is struggling with Asperger’s Syndrome (available on Amazon, or you can borrow my copy).
Of course, her greatest accomplishments are her two sons, Brendan and Ryan, whom she has successfully raised with her former spouse Sean. Amy says “because of my job I know how important it is for separated parents to get along, both for the sake of the children and for their own mental peace.” While their personal relationship may have changed over the years, it is clear that these two parents remain committed not only to the family they still share, but to the communities they have both spent their careers serving.
Sean says, “a probate judge, even more so than other judges, deals with vulnerable people: a parent facing dementia, people devastated by a death in the family, or people struggling through the adoption process. She will be a judge who will make sure people at their most vulnerable are really heard. I know her maybe better than anyone in Maine. I’m absolutely certain she will be a great judge.”
Both Faircloths share a deep, progressive philosophy and a commitment to serve their community. Amy Faircloth’s current position does not allow her to formally endorse a candidate. However, when asked about Sean Faircloth’s qualifications for Bangor City Council, Amy said “Sean is smart, articulate, and a great speaker who gets results. He sincerely wants to help people and is committed to his community. There is no better advocate for a cause!”
Sean Faircloth had the idea for the Maine Discovery Museum and was lead administrator of the multi-million dollar project from concept to completion, helping to usher in Bangor’s downtown revitalization.
Like Amy, Sean is both a lawyer and an author, in his case of a book advocating separation of church and state. Bill Nye the Science Guy said Faircloth’s book “makes such a compelling case.” Faircloth has lectured around the country, and around the globe in places as far flung as the Sydney Opera House and Istanbul.
Sean served in Maine’s legislature for ten years, including on the Appropriations Committee and as Majority Whip. Sean earned a 100% voting record with the Maine Women’s Lobby during all ten years. He spearheaded over thirty laws, including the deadbeat dad child support law, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and helping struggling single parents and children. Faircloth earned numerous Legislator of the Year awards, including from organizations recognizing his accomplishments on behalf of children, the software industry, and public health. Sean said, “I want the support of voters, but my most important audiences are my parents and my sons. I want them to see that I’ve been loyal to my values and that I’ve gotten results for those values.”
In 1994, ignoring advice that it would be politically damaging, Sean was the only elected official brave enough to accept an invite to march in Bangor’s first gay pride parade (organized by Jim Martin).
Amy Faircloth and Sean Faircloth have both proven time and time again that they support the families of Maine, regardless of their make-up. I admire their politics, their intelligence and their experience. However, what I like most about both of them is their willingness to continue, even in middle age, to grow, to learn and to evolve; as friends, as parents, and as members of a community that is lucky to have them. As the Penobscot County/Greater Bangor Region faces the many challenges ahead, I’m hoping we’ll have both of them on board to see us through!