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Jared Golden represents the Second District of Maine in the United States Congress, where he serves on the Small Business Committee and the Armed Services Committee.
He grew up in Leeds, a small town in Androscoggin County. After enlisting as an infantryman in the Marines, Golden deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan before returning home to Maine.
Congressman Golden currently lives in Lewiston with his wife Isobel.
Jared grew up working on his family’s small business in Leeds, Maine and learning from his parents about the hard work it takes to keep a small business going these days. He knows small businesses are especially important to us in Maine, particularly in rural areas. From lobster boats to dairy farms to the remaining shops that line Main Street in towns across the state, Mainers have a proud legacy of independent, family-owned businesses that we must fight to preserve.
Small businesses provide more than half of the jobs in our state. So when Jared arrived in Congress, he sought out a position on the House Small Business Committee, where he can work directly on the issues that affect Maine small businesses. Jared leads the committee’s work to improve infrastructure for small businesses across the country and help them compete for federal contracts as chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure. As part of this work, Jared passed a bill through the House to reauthorize and expand the Small Business Development Center program, which provides low- or no-cost business counseling and training at 11 locations throughout the Second District to help Mainers launch or grow their small businesses.
Since taking office in January, Jared has been travelling the Second District meeting with small businesses and convening roundtables with small business owners to learn what they need to succeed and grow. He’s focused on making Washington work for Maine small businesses and connecting them with the resources they need to be successful: capital and grant opportunities, business training, advising, mentoring services, and other programs designed to help them grow and create jobs. In September, Jared brought a congressional hearing to Machias, Maine to learn from small broadband providers and municipal leaders about the challenges they face bringing broadband to rural communities Down East.
Small businesses have told Jared that Congress needs to take action to improve our roads, rails, bridges, and other infrastructure. That includes finally making progress on rural broadband, one issue that small businesses struggle with regardless of industry. Jared knows Maine small businesses also need qualified, experienced workers, and he’s working to meet that need by improving the skills of Maine’s workforce through training and apprenticeship programs. He understands that Washington regulations often hold Maine small businesses back, and he looks to cut red tape when regulations don’t make sense for Maine.
Maine has a long, proud tradition of military service. More than one in ten Mainers is a veteran, and Jared is one of them. He understands the sacrifices veterans and their families have made for our country and he’s working hard to make sure they receive the benefits they’ve earned. In Congress, Jared’s focused on improving the health care veterans receive at the VA, helping them transition from active duty to civilian life, and connecting them with resources they can use to get a good job, receive an education, and start a business.
When he returned home from deployment, Jared was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. He was lucky: he had a support system and was able to get the care he needed. Jared knows that for many veterans with mental health challenges, that isn’t the case. He’s committed to strengthening mental health care for all veterans in Maine. That’s why he’s leading efforts to expand mental health care at Togus to allow long-term mental health patients to stay in Maine to receive treatment rather than be sent out of state. Earlier this year, he successfully passed a provision through the House to increase the amount of funding provided for veterans’ long-term mental health care across the country.
Jared believes the VA provides critical services to Maine veterans and that the VA should not be privatized and handed over to big corporations looking to squeeze out big profits. He knows that the VA isn’t without significant problems, but he believes that those problems are best solved by conducting effective oversight and providing the agency with necessary resources. Earlier this year, Jared helped pass a bill through the House to expand the services available to Vietnam war veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange while serving off-shore. Jared will continue to hold the VA accountable and ensure Maine veterans receive the high quality care they’ve earned.
More than any other issue, Mainers tell Jared about how much they struggle with the high cost of health care. Americans spend twice as much on health care as other advanced countries, but we still receive worse health outcomes. Whether it’s unaffordable insurance premiums, the skyrocketing cost of medication, or an hours-long drive to see an expensive specialist, it’s clear our health care system is broken.
Jared believes our country needs to move towards a universal coverage system that makes health care affordable for every Mainer. We won’t get there overnight, so Jared is working right now to defend protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, lower costs by making improvements to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and help more Mainers receive health care coverage by protecting Medicaid and Medicare.
One of the biggest reasons Mainers struggle to afford their care is the ever-increasing cost of prescription drugs. At a time when drug corporations are raking in profits, millions of Americans can’t afford the medications they need. That’s why one of the first bills Jared introduced was the FLAT Prices Act, which punishes pharmaceutical companies for spiking the prices of their drugs. He’s also cosponsored important bills to allow Americans to import safe, affordable drugs from Canada, give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors and millions of other Americans, and cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors.
Jared knows many Mainers work with their hands and it takes a toll on their bodies over a long career. That’s why he supports legislation to allow Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 to buy into Medicare. People who buy into the new plan could reduce their annual premiums by thousands of dollars, crucial progress for middle-aged Maine people who face rising healthcare costs but are not yet of retirement age.
When Jared asks small business owners, town managers, and other Mainers working to create jobs and develop our state’s economy about their most pressing needs, rebuilding Maine’s infrastructure is almost always high on the list. Investing in infrastructure creates jobs, boosts local economies, and helps our rural communities thrive. Jared serves as Chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure, leading the committee’s work to rebuild American infrastructure.
As one of the most rural states in the country, we know better than most the impact that deteriorating roads, rail, and other infrastructure have on our daily lives. For many Mainers, it means thousands of dollars in car repairs and lost wages thanks to delays or closures. For businesses large and small, it means higher costs, late shipments, and other issues that put them at a competitive disadvantage.
In an increasingly dysfunctional and partisan Washington, improving America’s infrastructure is one of the few issues that both Republicans and Democrats claim is a priority. Jared has pushed for both parties to back up their words with actions and work across the aisle on a strong infrastructure bill that finally makes the investment we need in roads, bridges, and rail. As an infrastructure bill takes shape, Jared will work to ensure that any legislation doesn’t disadvantage cash-poor states like Maine against populous, cash-rich states like New York, Massachusetts, and California.
Jared understands that broadband internet access is one of the most significant infrastructure challenges holding back many rural communities and small businesses. He’s made expanding rural broadband a priority in his first year in Congress. In September, Jared brought a congressional hearing to Machias to learn from the small broadband providers working to expand broadband to rural communities Down East about the challenges they’re facing.
National Security and Servicemembers
After 9/11, Jared answered the call to serve our country and enlisted in the Marines, deploying overseas to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He knows firsthand the consequences of sending our troops into foreign conflicts without a clear, well-articulated strategy for their mission and their withdrawal. He uses his experience as a Marine combat veteran when confronted with national security decisions in Congress.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Jared works across the aisle to create policies that keep America safe and ensure that our servicemembers have the training and tools they need to fight for our country.
Jared believes we need to reevaluate the use of the American military in foreign conflicts and strike a pragmatic balance: we must be clear-eyed about the consequences of withdrawing our troops from strategically important regions in the fight against terrorism, like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, while acknowledging that nation-building and long, protracted wars are not in our country’s best interests.
Earlier this year, Jared voted to affirm Congress’ authority under the War Powers Resolution and prevent the administration from a military attack on Iran unless authorized by Congress. He also voted to repeal the 2002 Authorized Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq, which provided the Bush Administration with authority to attack Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein. The Iraq AUMF has been rendered obsolete and is not needed by the Pentagon to conduct current military operations.
Jared deeply respects Maine’s servicemembers and also knows many civilian Mainers play a critically important role in our national defense as well. Thousands perform vital defense work in our state, including building the finest warships on the planet at Bath Iron Works and defense research at our universities. Jared uses his position on the Armed Services Committee to support these institutions and their workers at the federal level, ensuring that they have access to the resources they need and helping create a level playing field to compete for federal contracts.
Energy and Environment
Maine’s natural environment is our state’s most important resource. Our oceans and forests power our economy and support hundreds of thousands of jobs in our state thanks to Maine’s long, proud tradition of sustainable fishing, forestry, agriculture, and land conservation. We manage our resources responsibly so that they’re there for future generations. Jared is working to carry on that important legacy.
Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of our time. Jared believes it presents a unique and pressing threat to homes, jobs, and entire industries across our state, as well as our national security. He has pushed for our country to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and he voted to pass the Climate Action Now Act, which would direct the administration to begin the decisive, comprehensive actions necessary to address climate change.
Maine’s potential to spur economic growth, create jobs in rural areas, and combat climate change through solar, wind, and biomass energy production is unparalleled in the Northeastern US. Jared is working to pave the way for these industries to flourish and support jobs here in Maine with legislation like the BTU Act, which would incentivize the use of biomass for affordable, energy- efficient heating in homes and businesses and help grow Maine’s forest products industry. Jared is working to help Maine take advantage of its potential for wind and solar energy through tax credits and other policies.
Like most Mainers, Jared grew up with a love of the outdoors and our state’s mountains, woods, rivers, and coastline. He is committed to protecting Maine’s national parks and other public lands and ensuring that future generations of Mainers can continue to hunt, fish, hike, and enjoy our state’s natural beauty. Jared has voted to ban drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Maine and to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, one of our country’s most important conservation programs.
Good Government & Clean Elections
Jared believes our government should work for regular Mainers, not corporations, special interests, or the wealthy. He’s fighting to restore faith and trust in our democracy by getting money out of politics and ensuring public officials act in the public good.
One of the first bills Jared cosponsored when he arrived in Congress was H.R. 1, the For the People Act. The For the People Act is the most sweeping democracy reform to pass the House in decades and includes legislation to shine a light on dark money, help more Americans exercise their right to vote, and ensure government officials act in the public interest. The bill also contains provisions that would strengthen election systems from foreign interference and expand prohibitions on foreign political donations.
In March, Jared helped pass H.R. 1 through the House and secured an amendment in the legislation to set tougher restrictions for candidates utilizing a new matching funds system (similar to the Clean Elections system we have in Maine). He has also voted for legislation that would harden America’s defenses against election interference by foreign countries and make it more difficult for foreign entities to spend money to influence elections. Jared will continue to take action to defend American democracy and make government work for the people.
No matter where in the state they live or how much money their family makes, Maine kids deserve a high-quality education. This work has never been more important: Maine’s workforce is aging rapidly, creating a skills and workforce shortage. Jared recognizes the urgent need to prepare Mainers to address these shortages and ready the next generations with the skills required to stay in Maine and take good jobs.
That means providing schools, particularly in rural areas, with the resources they need to be successful. Teachers are some of the most valuable public servants in Maine. They should not have to struggle to make ends meet and they should have the freedom to teach rather than devoting all their time to testing. Earlier this year, Jared voted to boost funding for K-12 education and provide more support for special education programs across the country.
Many of the dependable, middle-class jobs in Maine don’t require a four year degree. Industries like shipbuilding and forest products need workers with specialized technical skills. Jared believes we need to improve the pathways to these jobs with better access to training programs and more support for apprenticeships. Jared has stood up against changes that would hurt successful apprenticeship programs. He also passed legislation through the House that directs the Navy to develop and implement a plan to train the workforce necessary for its growing fleet at Bath Iron Works and other shipyards.
Jared knows many Mainers struggle under the weight of student loans, stifling their ability to buy a house, start a family, or launch a business. He’s working to help make higher education more affordable for regular folks. Student loan debt in our state has doubled in the last decade, averaging about $30,000 for recent graduates. These are pressures that older generations just didn’t have to deal with and they keep young Mainers from contributing to their local economies, buying houses, having children, and often pushes them to leave the state in search of higher pay. Jared voted to expand Pell Grants, our country’s largest financial aid program. He is also a cosponsor of the What You Can Do For Your Country Act, which improves the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program so that teachers, nurses, first responders, and other professions designed to serve their communities can have their loans forgiven after a decade of service.
The opioid epidemic is devastating in Maine. In 2018, opioid overdose deaths declined for the first time since the beginning of the decade, but still claimed the lives of 354 of our friends, family, and neighbors. Thousands more remain addicted and need treatment.
This is a crisis that will have long-lasting impacts and Jared believes we must do everything in our power to fight back against opioid addiction and abuse in Maine and throughout the country. One of his first acts in Congress was to call on congressional leaders to make combating the opioid crisis a priority. Jared is also a member of the House Opioid Task Force.
Jared knows that addressing the opioid crisis requires a comprehensive approach, including prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement. State and local agencies are working hard in all of these areas, but they can’t do it alone. The federal government must step up to the plate and tackle the fight against opioid use disorder head-on.
That’s why Jared’s fighting back against efforts to roll back Medicaid, the largest source of coverage for treatment services to Americans struggling with opioid addiction. He’s also working to expand the resources available to communities deeply affected by the crisis. Jared is a cosponsor of the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which would make grants to fight substance use disorder and the opioid epidemic available to the Maine communities hardest hit by these drugs.