Maine is well represented by two members of Congress who reflect the values and circumstances of their very different districts.

Yes, they are both Democrats, and share a commitment to progress on health care, climate policy, rural development and democratic reform.

But 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree, and 2nd District Rep. Jared Golden offer different approaches to reaching those goals, keeping the faith with the people who elected them.

That’s why Pingree and Golden get our endorsement as the best choices to represent Maine in the next Congress.

Pingree, a tireless progressive who has been advocating for change since her days in the state Legislature, is a perfect fit for the solidly Democratic 1st District, representing southern and coastal Maine since 2008. She is being challenged by first-time Republican candidate Jay Allen, a doctor from the midcoast.

Pingree is on board with the biggest reform proposals now before Congress, including single-payer, universal health care through Medicare for All and the energy infrastructure investment program sometimes called the Green New Deal.

But she’s not locked into an all-or-nothing battle on those big plans, looking instead for opportunities to gain ground in the short term that will make life better for the people she represents.

Pingree has sponsored bills to lower the cost of prescription drugs (the issue that brought her to prominence in the Legislature 20 years ago) and dealing with the effects of climate change.

Through her service on the Agriculture Committee, Pingree has championed small farms, local food supply chains and nutrition programs. And she is a strong voice for the people who don’t have enough to eat, fighting the ideologues in Washington who behave as though hunger is a choice.

Pingree has learned that big changes can occur suddenly, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for it happen. Her commitment to making incremental progress while working for ultimate goals makes her an effective representative for her district.

“I love working within the democratic process. I just feel really lucky to be able to do it,” Pingree told the editorial board. “We work hard every single day.”

She deserves another term in Congress to continue that work.

Golden was elected two years ago to represent the more rural and conservative 2nd District, which has a history over the last few election cycles of supporting candidates from both parties, and he’s facing Republican Dale Crafts of Lisbon, a businessman and former legislator.

A former Marine, Golden has focused on issues that directly affect his constituents, while taking public stands that at times are at odds with his party’s leadership.

He kept his campaign promise to vote against Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House and a Democratic bill that would impose mandatory background check bill for private gun transfers.

He also voted against the most recent COVID-relief bills because he felt they were overly partisan. In December, he split his vote on the impeachment of Donald Trump, voting for one article and against the other, angering people on both sides of the issue.

But Golden is not just voting against his party to build his personal brand. He said he believes that most people in his district and throughout the country are not ideological and are turned off by what they see as partisan infighting. Golden says that many progressive policy ideas are popular and can bring people together if they are given the chance.

In addition to his advocacy for veterans and the traditional industries of forestry, farming and fishing, Golden has made the package of reforms known as the For the People Act, which was passed by the House as HR1 a focus of his work in Washington.

The bill, which passed the House and is languishing in the Senate, would make it easier to register and vote; put limits on campaign spending; reform the redistricting process to end partisan gerrymandering, and invest in election security.

It would also strengthen ethics requirements for elected officials right up to the president.

Those are the kinds of ideas that appeal to constituents who are deeply skeptical about government and the political process.

“People ask me why I’m a Democrat, and for starters I say it’s because I know that government can be a powerful force for good in our communities and in people’s daily lives,” Golden told the Editorial Board.

Voters in the 2nd District should send him back for another term.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.