LEWISTON — State Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, is endorsing GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina on the eve of a Maine visit by Fiorina.

Fiorina is making several private appearances, including a luncheon at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, as well as attending a fundraising event in her honor that’s being cosponsored by Volk in Portland Thursday.

The endorsement also comes as the Republican National Committee and CNN announce it is amending the criteria for its Republican presidential debate Sept. 16 in Simi Valley, Calif., which may allow Fiorina to join the other top-tier candidates.

Fiorina was excluded, as a second-tier candidate, in the first debate hosted by the Fox News on Aug. 6.

“I’ve just been incredibly impressed with Carly every time I’ve seen or listened to her in an interview,” Volk said Wednesday. “She’s doesn’t hesitate to answer questions, she’s very honest.”

While it’s not her primary reason for supporting Fiorina, Volk said it was important to her that Fiorina is the only female in the GOP race.

Long an advocate for growing the number of female elected officials Volk said America was ready and could use a female leader at the top.

“I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it plays some role, but I think it is a little bit of a minor role,” Volk said. “I mainly interested in my party picking a winner, and I think Carly can be that winner.”

More important than her gender,  Fiorina, a former computer industry executive from California, is a “political outsider,” Volk said.  “I think America is ready for that and I think that’s where a lot of the interest in (Donald) Trump is coming from, that is the fact he has great name recognition.”

Still Volk added women have an important role to play in American politics and certainly, “deserve a seat at the table.”

Volk was also adamant that she was supporting Fiorina in her bid to be president and not as vice presidential candidate running mate for another Republican on the ticket.

Volk also said she had no grand expectations at the endorsement of a state Senator from Maine would have a major influence on the race overall.

“I’m going to help out with the campaign to the extent that I can, I’m doing my part on social media, I think that plays a big role,” she said. “But in the end people need to make up their own minds. I’m not going to say I have the ability to bring x number of voters into the Fiorina camp, I can’t, but I can support getting her message out there.”

Volk said that included helping keep people up to date on Fiorina’s media and public appearances and promote those when she is able.

To that effect, Volk offered a high-five message on Twitter Wednesday on the news Fiorina would be participating in the next major network debate.

“Tremendous news for my girl #Carly! CNN amends GOP presidential debate criteria,” Volk tweeted.

Volk is joining a growing list of Maine GOP lawmakers who have decided to back one of the many GOP candidates hoping to be that party’s eventual nominee for the 2016 U.S. Presidential race.

State Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, has made his support of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul known and Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport, the House minority leader in Maine, has announced his support for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

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