When U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin won his first congressional election in 2014, the Democrat he replaced said he met several times with his successor to ease his way and answer his questions.

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who served from 2002 to 2014, said Wednesday that he talked about staffing, budgets and more with Poliquin as the pair successfully ensured “a very smooth transition.”

Michaud said that when he first went to Washington, replacing Democrat John Baldacci, he worked closely with the departing congressman to learn what he could from his experienced predecessor.

But this year, with a new Congress set to take office Jan. 3, the winner of the 2nd Congressional District race, Democrat Jared Golden of Lewiston, has yet to hear anything from Poliquin.

Golden said he would like to speak with Poliquin and at least arrange for the careful handoff of casework that staffers are doing.

Brendan Conley, a spokesman for Poliquin, said Wednesday that the congressman and his staff are going to keep serving the people of the 2nd District.

“There will be no break in service for the casework of any constituents we are currently handling, no matter who is sworn in in the 116th Congress,” Conley said.

Jon Breed, Golden’s campaign manager, said that given the way the recount is going the Democrat “hopes to receive the congressman’s concession soon, and his team is ready to work with Poliquin’s staff on a smooth and orderly transition.”

Poliquin is fighting in federal court to have the ranked-choice voting system, which propelled Golden to victory, thrown out as unconstitutional. He is also paying for a recount in the hope that officials will discover errors that might flip the results that handed Golden the win by nearly 3,000 votes last month.

Michaud, who is a newly elected selectman in East Millinocket, said that when he handed over the office to Poliquin there were “no interruptions as far as services” for constituents who were getting assistance, mostly with problems related to the federal government.

Michaud said that getting a helping hand from the incumbent is a big boost for an incoming legislator on Capitol Hill.

He said Baldacci explained to him how “to navigate the system,” introduced him to key lawmakers and even wound up providing some of his staff.

When Poliquin won in 2014, Michaud said, he made sure that his staff was ready to assist the Republican in any way they could.

Newcomers have so much to do, Michaud said, from getting their offices lined up in Washington and back in the district to hiring staff, that anything that eases the way is useful.

He said it’s too bad Golden isn’t receiving any advice from Poliquin.

“It’s unfortunate he’s in the situation he’s in now,” Michaud said.

Michaud said that it’s an amazing experience to head to Washington as a representative.

Seeing the U.S. Supreme Court building and the Capitol across the street from one another, he said, “you gotta pinch yourself.”

“It’s a great, great feeling,” Michaud said, though it’s also daunting to consider “the big commitment” to so many Mainers that comes along with it.

He said that in his first year as a member of Congress, he only slept in his own bed in Maine for 24 nights because the job required so much traveling throughout the district. In his second year, he took it a little easier and spent 26 nights at home.

Michaud said it was necessary for him to get out into the sprawling district regularly because he wanted to make sure he understood its people and concerns.

“It’s not easy,” Michaud said, but it is rewarding.

He said Golden has the advantage of serving in Maine’s Legislature before winning a congressional seat, so he understands something of how everything will go. But, Michaud said, the U.S. House is bigger and has its own rules and methods that take time to master.

Michaud said he’s confident that Golden “will do great” in the job because he’s already proven so willing to meet people, talk to groups and bring his experience to bear on the issues people care about in Maine.

“He definitely has a bright future ahead,” Michaud said.

One of the keys to success, Michaud said, is to hire “bright, dedicated staff.”

Golden announced his first two hires Wednesday.

Aisha Woodward, who served most recently as deputy campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Angus King’s re-election effort, was hired as Golden’s chief of staff. A Bowdoin College graduate from Sedgwick, she worked for King for years as his research director and legislative assistant.

Golden also hired Margaret Reynolds as his district director. The University of Maine graduate worked as field director on Golden’s campaign.

Michaud, 63, gave up his congressional office in 2014 to challenge Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s re-election bid.

After LePage defeated him, Michaud worked as the assistant secretary for the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service until the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

After moving back to East Millinocket, which had recently seen its paper mill close, Michaud this year ran for one of the town’s selectman positions, winning easily last month.

“I figured I’d try to give back to my community,” Michaud said.

Already, he’s helped convince Penobscot County to fund a regional economic development director position for at least the next seven years. Michaud said the position is being advertised now and he hopes to see it filled within a couple of months.

Gov.-elect Janet Mills is apparently considering Michaud as a possible commissioner in her administration. Michaud said he’s not sure if anything will come of that.

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