Rep. Dick Campbell, R-Orrington, took to these pages recently to attack Jared Golden, our congressman here in the 2nd Congressional District (“Golden showing he’s no moderate,” Nov. 23). He wasted no time getting down in the mud and digging out the same tired, divisive language most folks I know are tired of. Rep. Campbell would fit right in in Washington.

We sent Jared to Congress because he represents the opposite of the ugly partisanship Rep. Campbell put on display in his column. As a Republican for over 50 years, I don’t agree with Congressman Golden on everything, but I have faith in his calm and thoughtful approach, his independence, and his willingness to work across the aisle. Pundits can try to twist statistics about Golden’s voting record, but the reality is that he’s been a bipartisan workhorse. Thus far in 2019, of the 235 House Democrats, Golden is the fourth most likely to vote with the president. In today’s toxic partisan environment that takes mettle.

Congressman Golden used his first vote in the House to oppose Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House, just like he promised during the election. Later in the spring, despite intense pressure from his own party, Golden was one of just two Democrats to oppose gun control legislation similar to the proposal that voters in the 2nd District rejected in a 2016 referendum vote. That’s not embracing “Pelosi’s far-left agenda,” that’s showing the backbone to represent our district.

In a congressional district as evenly split as ours, Congressman Golden can’t please everyone with every vote. But we should all appreciate that he’s out in the community listening to us. He regularly holds town halls and office hours with his constituents. Recently, he held a town hall for veterans in Dixfield. He goes out of his way to listen to regular people because he’s a regular guy, which is why he does what he believes is right for Maine regardless of the politics of left and right.

I can easily think of two examples — and there are many more. When Democratic leaders were preparing to bring legislation to the House floor to lower prescription drug costs earlier this year, they included last-minute additions that were sure to alienate Republicans and ruin the bill’s chances in the Senate. Congressman Golden led a group of members from both parties to reject playing political games with Americans’ health care.

More recently, when the feds unveiled new regulations on Maine lobstermen, Congressman Golden was the first member of the delegation to stand up and speak out. He forced a vote on an amendment to try and delay the regulations and to demand that scientific data be used before moving forward, prompting special interest groups and some of his own Democrats to attack him. Golden didn’t hesitate to face criticism from his own party to make a stand for Maine lobstermen.

You may or may not agree with Jared’s vote to open the impeachment inquiry to public hearings, but you can’t argue he hasn’t been independent throughout the process. Most Democrats and Republicans didn’t skip a beat before either enthusiastically supporting or angrily rejecting impeachment. Congressman Golden’s approach has been measured, patient, and thoughtful.

And with impeachment, he weighed the evidence and took the time to consider what is best for the entire country instead of rushing to judgment based upon party loyalty.

I respect the way he’s handled the process, and I’m proud of the way he’s conducted himself as our representative in Congress. The majority of us want a leader who will respectfully listen to everyone and who won’t embrace the political tribalism in Congress. Congressman Golden has been the thoughtful leader we wanted.

Aaron Burke is a resident of Lewiston.


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