Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jared Golden Just Declared His Candidacy For Maine's 2nd Congressional District


This morning Jared Golden, the Assistant Majority Leader of Maine's House of Representatives, declared his candidacy for the only New England seat held by a Republican-- Bruce Poliquin-- ME-02, the district Trump won last year. Jared grew up in Leeds, Maine, a small dairy town of about 2,000 people. He served four years in the U.S. Marines with combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He attended Bates College after the Marines and later returned to Afghanistan as a volunteer teacher. First elected in 2014 to represent Lewiston in the Maine House of Representatives, he now serves as the House Majority Whip. Golden has a record of exciting and tangible legislative accomplishment, writing and passing laws to help veterans get mental health care services, to protect workers from wage theft and to ease access to workers’ compensation for first responders diagnosed with PTSD.

Maine's 2nd congressional district includes all of Maine north of Portland and Augusta-- all of Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington counties and part of Kennebec. Trump lost Maine by around 3 points but won ME-02 by over 10 points-- 51.4% to 41.1%. Hillary was the wrong candidate for the district. In fact, she lost every single county in the district to Bernie in the caucuses-- some with less than 30% of the vote. Poliquin voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with TrumpCare, making him extremely vulnerable to defeat next year.

Susan Collins voted to protect Mainers; Poliquin voted for TrumpCare instead

Poliquin is a rich guy who began his political campaign by self-fundng a race for governor-- and not just losing to crackpot Paul LePage but coming in 6th out of 7 Republicans in the primary! LePage gave him the job as state treasurer. In 2012 he lost another GOP primary, this one for the U.S. Senate seat given up by Olympia Snowe. in 2014 he finally found an election he could win-- the "conservative" Maine congressional seat (ME-02) which was being vacated by Blue Dog Mike Michaud. The DCCC nominated a pointless centrist EMILY's List candidate (Emily Cain), allowing the district to flip blue to red-- 133,320 (45.2%) to 118,568 (40.2%). Last year the DCCC came up with one of their typically brilliant strategies for winning back the seat, running the same pointless centrist, Emily Cain, again. She went on to lose again, waiting to be swept into office on Clinton's coattails, 192,878 (54.8%) to 159,081 (45.2%).

Goal ThermometerLuckily, the DCCC hasn't recruited Cain again for 2018 and they seem not to be objecting Golden or his outsider message. An ex-Marine who saw active duty in Afghanistan, Golden, who was an avid Bernie supporter in the primaries and then worked to elect Hillary over Trump, seems like just the kind of candidate who can defeat Poliquin. His record is pro-Choice, pro-LGTQ equality, pro-Labor and pro-environment. He's the one who wrote Maine's automatic voter registration bill we wrote about in May. His legislative record-- not just votes but leadership-- indicate he'd be an excellent new member of Congress, something the Democrats need badly. When I asked her about him, Shenna Bellows, a big fan, suggested I read this OpEd he wrote for the Bangor Daily News: Asylum-seekers are part of Maine’s turnaround, not political pawns. So... good on the courageousness metric as well. A well-connected friend of mine in Lewiston told me that "As whip in the Democratic-led House, he consistently worked behind the scenes for a more progressive approach on the tough budget issues and some of the other bills we dealt with this year. A progressive marine who has the courage of his convictions is exactly the type of representative we need in these perilous times. Jared was tireless about advocating for a more progressive approach." I asked him to introduce himself to our community by writing a guest post.

How to Win Back a Republican District
-by Jared Golden

This morning, in my hometown of Lewiston, I announced my candidacy for Congress in Maine’s 2nd district. My family’s roots in Maine go back generations-- working in shoe shops, on farms, and running small businesses that are the backbone of our state.

I enlisted in the U.S. Marines after the September 11th attacks and served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2014, I was elected to the Maine House of Representatives, and currently serve as the Assistant Majority Leader.

I plan to make this race an example of how Democrats can win back districts that have gotten away from the party.

Maine’s 2nd district, the largest district east of the Mississippi, used to be relatively reliable Democratic territory: Democrats held the seat from 1994 until 2014, and Bill Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama all carried the district during their presidential runs.

Something changed recently. Republican Bruce Poliquin won the seat in 2014, and Trump carried the district in 2016. The Democratic Party needs to work to understand how it has lost support in districts like this and pay attention to the basic, kitchen table issues that matter to the people that live in my region.

My part of the country has been hit hard. Free trade deals that benefit CEO’s but not workers have led to mill closures and the loss of good paying jobs. The opioid epidemic is growing out of control. The poverty rate among Maine children has grown at eight times the national average in recent years.

I’ve seen what happens when our rigged economic system leaves people behind. In the Marines, I was taught to leave no one behind.

My district voted for both Bernie Sanders in the primary and Donald Trump in the general to send a message that the political establishment in both parties has let them down. They want action on infrastructure, jobs, and health care-- and they are tired of hearing politicians talk without walking the walk to protect their interests in Washington.

Bruce Poliquin’s vote for the disastrous Republican health-care plan is just the latest example, as it would have taken health insurance away from tens of thousands of Mainers and resulted in the loss of many good paying jobs at rural hospitals.

In the oldest state in the nation, with a struggling economy, real leaders shouldn’t be working to take health-care away from their constituents, they should be fighting to ensure access to health-care for all of them.

I think the Democratic Party has a lot to learn from us up here in Maine. In the State House, my job as Assistant Majority Leader is to serve as the whip, the guy who counts the votes. I’ve counted the votes-- and I can tell you, we can’t get to a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives without figuring out how to win districts like mine.

How are we going to do it? By cutting through the rhetoric and talking plainly and directly to people about issues that impact their lives. We need to have the courage to stand by our progressive values while meeting people where they are to engage with them about how we can work together to make real progress.

My campaign is going to relentlessly focus on economic issues: creating jobs with investments in infrastructure, from transportation and public works to renewable energy; strengthening organized labor because as they’ve declined so have wages; opposing trade deals that benefit our neighbors to the north and south more than they do us; pushing for Medicare coverage for all and a fair tax code that benefits the working class.

In the Maine Legislature I’ve stood strong by our union brothers and sisters. It’s my great honor that the Maine AFL-CIO has awarded me its top honor for legislators, the Edie Beaulieu Award, this year for my work on behalf of working class people and priorities.

In 2017, I’ve sponsored and passed legislation to address wage theft by employers who steal from their employees, to make access to workers’ compensation easier for firefighters and police officers diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress, and to provide state health-care services for veterans experiencing a mental health crisis.

We can win back districts like mine by being strong on behalf of the people that need our help most, unafraid to expose the GOP agenda as disastrous for the people, and by connecting to them on a personal level. To win, we need to be honest about the struggles our communities face, and offer solutions that really improve people’s lives.

That’s been my record in the Maine State House, and it’s what I’ll do in Congress.

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At 6:19 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Now that is a campaign ad he's got my vote.


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