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Golden discusses For the People Act during Lunch and Learn

By Kendra Caruso | Mar 31, 2021
Courtesy of: Jared Golden Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd Dist.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd Dist., spoke about the For the People Act at Maine Conservation Voters' March 26 Lunch and Learn online event. The bill was approved by the House early in March and is now waiting for Senate consideration.

After the 2018 election, electoral reform was one of the top priorities of Golden and other freshman members of Congress, he said. He and other new members of Congress ran on bringing big changes to politics. He asked people watching the meeting to join him in supporting the legislation, or at least some aspect of it, saying, “I’m not an all-or-nothing type of person.”

The bill addresses a wide array of issues regarding voting, campaigning and government ethics. It allows for same-day voter registration and automatic registration. It limits when voters can be removed from voter rolls.

Under the legislation, states would have to establish independent redistricting commissions. It also adds election security provisions regarding intelligence, institutions and systems, and creates a National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions within the legislative branch.

The bill would expand prohibitions on foreign nationals spending money on campaigns, require more disclosures regarding campaign spending and fundraising and expand disclaimers on certain political ads. It would also prohibit House members from serving on the board of a for-profit entity and add other conflict-of-interest and ethics regulations for federal employees and the White House.

In addition, it requires that the president, vice president and some candidates running for those offices provide federal income tax returns for the previous 10 years.

The legislation has some “soft corruption reforms,” Golden said, that crack down on people who use public service as a stepping stone to a lobbying job. This is not a partisan issue, he said.

He answered questions from participants on other issues he has considered recently. He talked about needing to be pragmatic about how to solve climate change issues, and being clear about the ways renewable energy could fail on-demand power generation to mills.

He discussed his decision to vote against the American Rescue Plan, the recently passed $1.9 trillion package of coronavirus and other aid. Golden said he tries to start by researching proposed legislation and how it will intersect with Maine. He is not a traditional budget hawk, but had concerns about the $6 trillion in total federal coronavirus-related appropriations passed since last year. He said he would like to see a more targeted approach to funding coronavirus issues that still exist.

“I think there are limits to how much we can spend in a specific amount of time or how much debt we can take on,” he said. He still recognizes the need to help residents who continue to be hurt financially by virus-related shutdowns.

Golden spoke briefly about a number of other issues related to the environment, energy, farming, law enforcement and other topics widely discussed in Maine.

He holds a 97% score for 2020 from the League of Conservation Voters, according to Maine Conservation Voters Executive Director Maureen Drouin. Maine Conservation Voters is affiliated with the League of Conservation Voters and holds weekly Lunch and Learn sessions every Friday at noon. Drouin issued a “call to action” and asked virtual attendees to contact Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King to support the legislation.

“The For the People Act would be the most significant voting rights and democracy reform measure in over half a century,” she said.

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