Freshman U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a 36-year-old combat veteran of the Marine Corps, has been tapped to serve on the House Armed Services Committee, a perch that may help him preserve Maine jobs at Bath Iron Works.

The panel oversees the funding of the American military and is considered a plum assignment for members of the 435-person House.

Golden said last month that if he snagged an assignment to the Armed Services panel he would have some leverage to look out for the interests of the Bath shipyard, which is not in his district but employs hundreds of his constituents.

“I’ll never forget that Bath-built is best-built,” Golden said in a statement Tuesday.

The president of Machinists Local S6 in Bath, Mike Keenan, said his members “are pleased to learn that Jared Golden will be representing the state of Maine and its elite shipbuilders as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.”

“This committee, among other duties, is responsible for the funding and oversight of the Department of Defense and the United States Armed Forces. Jared’s background in the military, and previous leadership as a state legislator are attributes that will be a welcome addition to a committee that plays a crucial role in the shipbuilding industry,” Keenan said.

Golden’s four-year military career, which included two combat tours, gave him a perspective on the armed services that will almost certainly influence how he sees the issues that come before the committee.

Golden said he will rely on his combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq “to make sure our service members have the tools and training they need to succeed and keep us safe.”

“I’ll stand up for working Maine people, protect good jobs right here in our state, and help businesses in the Second District grow and hire more Mainers,” he said.

Some political insiders had worried that Golden’s refusal to back U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for speaker in his first vote in the House this month might relegate him to less prominent posts.

But Golden said he thought his position on the speaker’s race had been clear throughout the campaign and that it wouldn’t hold him back within the Democratic caucus.

The Republican defeated by Golden in November, Bruce Poliquin, had served on two committees, one overseeing veterans’ affairs and the Financial Services Committee, where his long background in finance was especially valuable.

The full list of House committee assignments is not yet public so it is not clear whether Golden will also serve on a second panel, which is typically the case.

Members of Congress tend to develop areas of expertise in the legislative process that adhere pretty closely to the committees on which they serve because of the detailed work required to keep up with matters each panel oversees.

The chairman of the Armed Services panel is a Washington state Democrat, Adam Smith. The Republican leader on the panel is Mac Thornberry of Texas.

Smith said in a prepared statement this month that as chairman, he plans to work with colleagues in both parties “to promote transparency and congressional oversight, enhance military readiness, combat inefficiency and waste” as well as press to “advance green technology in defense and address the threat climate change poses to our national security, fight for an inclusive military, and move towards a responsible approach to nuclear weapons.”

He is a staunch opponent of letting the military play any role in erecting a wall along the southern border of the country.

Golden said the committee assignment will help dozens of contractors, suppliers, and manufacturing companies in his district that provide good-paying jobs, including Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg, which manufactures parts for military aircraft and employs more than 250 Mainers.

Among his priorities will be to support the Air National Guard base in Bangor, the continued operation of the Defense Finance and Accounting Services facility in Limestone, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and providing research funds for the University of Maine through the National Defense Authorization Act.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, a second-term Maine independent, serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Steve Collins can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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