The races in Maine’s two congressional districts are about health care, taxes and who can best represent our state in Washington.

With all those things in mind, the Editorial Board endorses Rep. Chellie Pingree in the 1st Congressional District and Jared Golden, a state legislator, in the 2nd Congressional District.

PINGREE EARNED ANOTHER TERM

Two years ago, we endorsed Pingree because she understands the competing interests in a large district that contains the state’s largest city and economic center as well as rural areas. Not much has changed.

Through five terms she has reflected the values of her constituents by fighting for and protecting access to affordable health care, and pushing for solutions to climate change.

From her spot on the Agriculture Committee then the subcommittee on agriculture of the Appropriations Committee, she has fought to change policy to benefit Maine farmers, and she has been an advocate for the food assistance programs that help thousands of low-income Mainers.

In 2016, we said her Republican challenger, Mark Holbrook, was not qualified for the job. That hasn’t changed either.

What has changed is the inclusion in the race of independent Martin Grohman, and the election as president of Donald Trump.

Grohman, a state legislator and former Democrat who started his own successful business in Biddeford, is not far from Pingree on many matters of policy (though they do disagree on key areas, such as the Trump tax cuts, which Grohman supports on the basis of fairness for small businesses).

The big difference, Grohman says, is that as an independent he can work with both sides toward solutions free from corrupting partisan influences.

It’s not Democrats or Republicans that are the problem, Groham told the Editorial Board, “it’s the Democrats and Republicans together.”

No doubt there are problems with the parties, their addiction to campaign funding, and their unending focus on the next election.

But to say that both sides are at fault for the imminent problems facing the country ignores the very real differences.

President Donald Trump and other Republicans have demonstrated bad faith on health care, environmental policy and immigration. Pingree, however, has shown she’ll fight for the right side of those issues and others. She deserves another term.

POLIQUIN FALLS SHORT

Golden is a former non-commissioned officer in the Marines who served in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. After a tough time upon his return, he graduated from Bates College and went to work for Sen. Collins as a staffer for the Senate Homeland Security Committee. In 2014, he won a seat in the Maine House of Representatives, eventually rising to assistant majority leader.

He has proven himself a leader. His next stop should be Congress.

Where we think Golden would stand up for Mainers, Rep. Bruce Poliquin has, for the most part, let them down.

Poliquin voted for the $1.5 trillion Trump tax cut that has done little for the average American but is now ballooning the deficit. The loss of revenue caused by the tax cut has led Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call for cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Meanwhile, Poliquin said there is a “finite amount of money out there” for the temporary food assistance that helps thousands of Mainers, and he has championed policies in the House farm bill that worsened hunger here in Maine.

Poliquin also voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in ways that would have been devastating, stripping 24 million Americans of health insurance by 2026, including more than 100,000 Mainers.

And while Poliquin,has become an ardent supporter of protecting Americans with per-existing conditions since he got on the campaign trail, his votes say otherwise.

Poliquin chooses not to explain his position. Other members of Maine’s congressional delegation frequently comment on the most important issues facing the country, while Poliquin mostly remains silent.

Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar, two independents, are also in the race. They’ve been a welcome addition to the debates, but they have otherwise struggled to gain traction.

It’s time for a change. Golden’s record shows that in Congress he would better be a better representative for Maine.

(Editor’s note: An earlier version of the editorial was unclear on Rep. Pingree’s committee service.)

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.