Analysis Culture

Spotlight: Veteran Candidates — Jared Golden (MA-2)

This article is part of a series on veteran candidates for the House of Representatives in toss-up districts. Part One of the series can be found here.

This article should not be seen as an endorsement of any political candidate or party, and does not represent the views of The Freq Media.

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As the nation approaches November 6th, Election Day 2018, few races for the House of Representatives are more closely watched than that of Maine’s Second Congressional District. In a year that is increasingly looking to favor the Democrats, the race for MA-2 stands out. Maine has voted blue in the last seven presidential elections, though Hillary Clinton topped Donald Trump by a mere 2.9 points. The Second District, however, was red — providing Trump his only electoral vote in New England. This year, incumbent Bruce Poliquin (R) faces a tough challenge from former Marine Infantryman Jared Golden.

Golden grew up in Leeds, Maine where his family owns and operates a public golf course. Growing up, Jared tended to its needs, weeding, mowing, and general upkeep. Golden claims he always thought of it as a farm based on the work required to keep it running. Golden learned his work ethic here, watching his parents fight to make ends meet.

Golden joined the Marine Corps in the fall of 2002, spurred by the 9/11 attacks and two grandfathers who served. He enlisted in secret and drilled with the recruiters on the weekends, keeping it from his parents until the last minute. They were proud, but terrified. Graduating boot camp from Parris Island, Golden was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. He was deployed twice, to Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in 2004, and again to Al Anbar, Iraq in 2005, only a few months after returning home.

Following his deployments, Golden describes bad dreams and other symptoms of PTSD. He was arrested for DUI, though found not guilty. When he left the Marine Corps, he returned home to Maine, where he found purpose attending Bates College and earning a degree in politics. While there, Golden learned Pashto and returned to Afghanistan for a summer working in a leadership program for Afghan youth. After graduation, he also returned to Iraq to work for a logistics business.

Jared Golden as a Marine and a candidate.

Golden’s first work in politics was as a staffer for Senator Susan Collins (R). While on the Hill, Golden found out that he was more Democrat than Republican, though working for Sen. Collins did not bother him. Returning to Augusta, Maine, he worked for state Democrats. Deciding to become a legislator himself, Golden ran for a state house seat in 2014, was elected, and has championed veterans’ issues ever since.

Now Golden faces the largest challenge of his political career. His district has seen the second-most ads in the nation this year. In fact, control of the House may hinge on which candidate goes to Washington for MA-2. Despite all the talk of a blue-wave, Golden faces a tough incumbent in a district that fits the “Trump demographic” perfectly. A mid-September poll has Golden trailing Poliquin 47-42.

Here is where Golden stands on key issues, according to his campaign website:

Education

One of Golden’s more bold policy areas, Golden advocates for an expanded service-for-college policy, modeled off the G.I. Bill. He believes all Americans should have the chance to attend college at no expense, in exchange for service in organizations such as the military, Teach For America, the Peace Corps, or other organizations.

Healthcare

Golden seeks to move healthcare away from the current model, “treating health like a private industry, and start treating health like a public good and a basic right for every American.” He wants to begin by strengthening the Affordable Care Act, and moving to a model like Medicare-for-all.

Defense

Golden wants to stop privatization of the VA, and work to increase the impact of veteran service organizations in Washington, so that more veteran voices are heard. He also wants to ensure that American lives and treasure are only invested when America has a compelling national interest, and only as a last resort. He seeks to give Congress more control over committing troops and limiting executive power.

Jobs and the Economy

Golden wants to reinvigorate a tough Maine economy by renegotiating key foreign trade agreements in order to benefit domestic workers, invest in green energy jobs, level the playing field between large and small businesses through common sense regulation, and strengthening his state’s manufacturing base.

It may take a few days after Nov. 6th for the dust to settle in Maine — they have ranked-choice voting, with two independent candidates on the ballot, a situation that will likely benefit Golden. This race will likely help determine the next Congressional balance, and serve a an indicator of outcomes across the country. As a political expert in Maine has been quoted saying, “If Golden can’t beat him, nobody ever will… He’s sort of the perfect candidate.”

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