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Politics

Golden Assigned To House Armed Services Committee

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Jared Golden

Freshman U.S. Rep. Jared Golden has been handed a prime assignment to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. Golden says he will use to the position to ensure that U.S. troops get the equipment and training they need.

Golden recalls that when he was training as a Marine to be deployed to Afghanistan, there were not enough rifles to go around, but, as he puts it, Marines make do.

“I spent the first several weeks training with whatever stick felt appropriately heavy to match an M-16,” Golden says.

He also remembers that at the time of his deployment in 2004, there was a disconnect between the debate on equipping troops in the region, and the reality on the ground.

“I heard later that the big political debate back here in the United States was about up armored HUMVEEs for our troops fighting in Iraq,” he says. “Meanwhile we were running around in Toyota Highluxes.”

Golden says these are examples of how those on the front lines are too often shortchanged on training and equipment. He also says that since fewer and fewer members of Congress have military experience, he plans to advocate for those who are engaged in ground combat or who will be after basic training. Golden says he also will be in a position to help the other members of the Congressional Delegation advocate for defense jobs at Bath Iron Works, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and other contracting operations.

UMaine political science professor Mark Brewer says that Golden’s appointment to the Armed Services Committee adds even more political punch for the delegation in general.

“Many states fail to have any delegates or any members of Congress on that Committee, and Maine has two,” Brewer says.

Democratic Maine 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree and Republican Sen. Susan Collins serve on their respective Appropriations Committees, and independent Sen. Angus King serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Brewer says that this clout is important when budget items are being negotiated in-committee.

He also says Golden’s appointment may also be an indicator that Democrats sense that the GOP will mount a major campaign to defeat Golden two years from now.

“I think Nancy Pelosi and Democrat House leadership recognize that this is a seat they would like to keep, and maybe this is a down payment on that,” he says.

Brewer says there is already speculation that former District 2nd Rep. Bruce Poliquin will try to reclaim the seat in 2020. Golden says he is focused on the job of representing the 2nd Congressional District for the next two years.

Originally published Jan. 16, 2019 at 4:44 p.m. ET.