Jared Golden and Dale Crafts square off in Maine’s 2nd US Congressional race

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In the race for the Second District of Maine’s U.S. House of Representatives seat, Republican Dale Crafts this fall is challenging first-term Democrat incumbent Jared Golden, who narrowly won the seat two years ago through the state’s ranked choice voting law.

Both candidates have prior legislative histories. Crafts served in the Maine House of Representatives, in District 56, from 2008-16. Golden also served as a state representative, in District 60, from 2014-18.

Crafts and Golden each were asked to respond to a specific list of questions from The Center Square. Neither Golden nor a member of his campaign responded to repeated calls and emails for comment.

On the reason for running for office and personal, professional qualities

Crafts said he chose to work in public office because he was able to excel personally and professionally despite being paralyzed.

“I have lived the America dream, because this country provided me the opportunity to work hard and build it for myself,” Crafts said. “I am running for Congress because I want to ensure my children and yours have the same opportunity to build their own version of the American dream, right here at home.”

Crafts said he brings a number of attributes to the table, including patience, understanding, wisdom and the willingness to dig into issues.

“The problem with politics today is that no one is willing to understand the other side; we have too many self servants,” Crafts said. “I want to go to Washington, (D.C.), to be a servant of the people.”

On his campaign website, Golden and his campaign staffers touch and his various accomplishments, including military service and accolades while in office.

“After the Sept. 11, (2001), attacks, he enlisted in the Marine Corps infantry and served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan,” a passage on Golden’s “about” page reads. “After returning home, Jared used his veterans’ benefits to attend Bates College.”

During his two-year tenure in the state House of Representatives, the website notes he was selected by peers to serve as the Democratic Assistant Majority Leader.

Of his first term in office at the federal level, Golden’s campaign site says he “has been a fierce advocate for Maine. He’s working to expand access to affordable healthcare, defend protections for people with pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug costs and protect Social Security and Medicare.”

On the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

Crafts shared a number of thoughts on President Donald Trump’s tax reforms. He said he believed the reform’s helped level the playing field, giving people more personal power with their income.

“The more money that is in the pocket of every Mainer, especially today, the better off we all are,” Crafts said. “The changes (in the act) simplified the individual income tax by also eliminating the need for households to itemize their deductions.”

In a 2019 news release, Golden took jabs at the Jobs Act of 2017 in his cosponsorship of the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Jobs Act. Reforms within the Trump’s 2017 act, Golden said, encouraged corporations to move jobs overseas.

“Maine workers know too well the harsh effect of outsourcing jobs,” Golden said in a statement at the time. “In the last several decades, tens of thousands of Mainers have lost their jobs as corporations moved their operations abroad.”

On immigration policies

Federal policies related to immigration have been a hot topic throughout Trump’s first term as president. In Maine, Crafts and Golden have given different takes on the issue.

Crafts said he supports many of the policies Trump has laid out, including border protections with the wall.

“We need to start by enforcing the laws we have on the books,” Crafts said. “By enforcing what we have, we could see a reduction in illegal immigration and an increase in legal immigration.”

In July, Golden voted in favor of legislation known as the National Origin-Based Anti-discrimination for Nonimmigrants, or NO BAN, Act, which passed in the House.

“It’s wrong to deny someone a place in America because of their religion,” Golden said in a statement. “The NO BAN Act forbids any president from denying someone entry to America based on their religion.”

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