President Joe Biden speaks Friday at Auburn Manufacturing, highlighting federal investments that have helped strengthen Maine’s economy, and signs an executive order striving to “Invent it here, make it here.” Standing behind him are Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District; Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque; Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District; Sen. Angus King, I-Maine; Gov. Janet Mills; and Auburn Manufacturing founder Kathie Leonard. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — There’s not a single Democrat in the U.S. House who votes against President Joe Biden’s agenda more often than U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, the Lewiston Democrat who represents Maine’s sprawling 2nd Congressional District.

But listening to the two men speak at Auburn Manufacturing Inc. on Friday you’d never know they had major differences.

The president called Golden an “independent voice of the people of Maine,” a nod to Golden’s willingness to buck the party line, and told him, “You serve the district just like you served your country as a Marine, with integrity, honor and fearlessness.”

Golden said that he’s “been the number one Democrat to go the other way” on the president’s agenda, including votes against Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan and his Build Back Better proposal.

After the president’s departure, Golden said people shouldn’t be surprised that he gets along with Biden.

“We don’t have to be disagreeable,” the legislator said.


He said when Biden offers “good economic policy,” he supports it. And when the president’s policy veers from what it should be, Golden said he opposes it.

During his own speech at the Auburn company, Golden said, “When I look at the accomplishments and long-term economic goals of the first two years of his presidency, what I see is the beginnings of a challenge to the dismantling of our national economy that left American workers exposed to foreign competition and allowed American manufacturing power to drift overseas.”

The effort by the president and Golden to reach out to one another is an indication of the importance of the 2nd District in next year’s election, when Biden may have a shot of snatching the district’s single electoral vote for the Democrats who lost it in both the 2016 and 2020 races.

Some scenarios have the entire presidential election hinging on who wins the district, a possibility mentioned several times over the years by former President Donald Trump, so far the leading contender for the Republican Party’s nomination next year.

Shifting the district toward the Democrats would obviously help both Biden and Golden, who has won the district despite its support for Trump.

“I call myself a labor Democrat,” Golden said, which he said he thinks ought to be the party’s priority as well.


Golden said it’s no secret that he and Biden don’t always agree.

Golden said Biden’s “historic investment in America’s infrastructure and new laws to support manufacturing jobs on American soil” are bolstering an alliance with unions to ensure American workers can prosper.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, takes the stage Friday at Auburn Manufacturing Inc. where President Biden spoke and signed an executive order to promote American manufacturing. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Not everyone views Golden as a rebellious Democrat.

National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Savannah Viar called Golden “Joe Biden’s loyal foot-soldier” in a Friday press release that insisted Golden has backed Biden “every step of the way,” including support for the Inflation Reduction Acts.

Golden’s speech at Auburn Manufacturing called for less partisanship.

“There is a political narrative being forced upon us that does not reflect who we are as a people,” Golden said.


“The narrative goes that there are two political parties in America, one led by socialists supported by a mass of crazy liberals coming after your way of life, the other led by fascists supported by racist, authoritarian-minded conservatives,” Golden said.

He said “self-interested forces” benefit from political divisions and social chaos. They want, he said, to make people choose sides.

Golden said, though, that most people have a mix of progressive and conservative ideas, as well as friends and family who don’t always agree on politics.

He hailed Biden as “not the type of leader that wants to force this divisive choice upon us.”

“Instead, he’s a president who believes in the good character of normal American people,” Golden said. “And there are more normal people than weirdos out there would have us believe.”

Biden also employed a tried-and-true method of buttering up to fellow politicians.

Bringing up Golden during his speech, Biden said the third-term lawmaker’s “greatest claim to fame is a beautiful wife,” former Lewiston City Council member Isobel Golden, and the couple’s lively 2-year-old, whom he had the chance to meet shortly before officials took the podium.

One of the president’s aides made sure Golden got some Air Force One trinkets to give his daughter.

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