The BDN Editorial Board operates independently from the newsroom, and does not set policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.
U.S. Rep. Jared Golden has proven himself a thoughtful, moderate voice in Congress who represents Maine’s 2nd District voters well. Those voters should send him back to Washington for another two years.
Unlike Maine’s 1st District race, this contest offers two serious candidates who are prepared for the job.
Golden, a Democrat, has spent his first term in Congress focusing on issues important to his constituents, bucking his party leadership at times, and working across the aisle with like-minded legislators looking for results rather than constant gridlock.
Republican candidate Dale Crafts is personable, has an inspiring life story and a great deal of business experience. He also has state legislative experience, and we don’t doubt his commitment to work hard for his district if elected.
Though this race features two reasonable candidates, Golden’s record over the past two years and his willingness to think outside the partisan box distinguish him as the stronger choice. While Crafts’ policy priorities hew closely to the standard Republican playbook, Golden has let the district’s needs, not party orthodoxy, guide his efforts.
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“I really think this election is going to be about the people of the district coming together to reject the kind of divisiveness and partisanship that’s kind of become the status quo,” Golden told the BDN editorial board. “I think I see people coming together, and wanting to take the temperature down politically. But also, just refocus our politics on issues that matter to everyday life.”
As the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have turned to the courts to try to strike down the Affordable Care Act with no clear, comprehensive plan for preserving health insurance and health protections for millions of Americans, Golden has sensibly looked for ways to improve the ACA without ditching it wholesale.
A former Marine who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, Golden has unsurprisingly stepped up to support his fellow veterans. For example, following repeated advocacy from Golden and other members of the Maine congressional delegation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently approved the construction of a 24-bed residential facility to provide substance use treatment to Maine veterans.
Golden has also proven to be a detail-oriented advocate for Maine in areas such as supporting the Maine lobster industry and expanding the resources provided by federal small business development centers.
While congressional leadership and the White House have failed to reach a deal on additional, much needed coronavirus aid — a stalemate Golden warned about and tried to avoid months ago — he and a bipartisan group of colleagues more recently got the ball rolling on a compromise that could (and should) provide a framework for eventual action.
Starting with his early vote against Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House — opposition he envisions repeating should he be reelected and Democrats keep control of the House — Golden has not shied away from breaking with his party leadership. His nuanced decision on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, as the only House member to vote for one article while rightly pointing out the deficiencies of the other, again demonstrated his ability to make decisions based on the facts before him rather than the party line.
In contrast, Crafts and the other candidates in the Republican primary spent a lot of time and energy trying to prove they aligned with President Donald Trump. And while Crafts now says that both Trump and Gov. Janet Mills have tried their best working through the unknowns during the coronavirus pandemic, Crafts was an early and vocal opponent of public health measures Mills put in place — measures that have been gradually eased and that helped Maine be a leader in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Crafts told the BDN editorial board he wants to work with people to get things done, and it was good to hear. But for the past two years, Golden hasn’t just been saying that, he’s been doing it.
Jared Golden had already shown that he is an independent thinker who doesn’t follow partisan dogma. He has established himself as part of Maine’s strong tradition of moderate leaders while bringing new ideas to the table. He has placed the realities of his constituents ahead of the political theater in Washington, and we expect those constituents to continue to be well-served if they place their trust in him again in this election.