LEWISTON, Maine — Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, was presented the Advocate for American Business award Tuesday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce while visiting Elmet Technologies, a metal products manufacturing company in Lewiston.
"The Congressman was integral in getting that Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill done. There were so many different times where we thought the bill was dead," Steve McAllister, vice president of Eastern Region of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said. "There were so many different roadblocks, and the Congressman kept pushing it forward."
McAllister says it's important to recognize Golden for his work supporting small businesses in Maine and around the county by helping get the infrastructure bill passed.
"I thought that the infrastructure bill was the right policy for the county and necessary investment in our future," Golden said.
Golden and area business leaders also touted his work on Small Business Development Centers and part of the U.S. House Small Business Committee.
Not an endorsement
Only two weeks remain until Election Day, but both the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Chamber of Commerce made it clear to say the recognition of Golden is not an endorsement.
"We understand with the timing, but we really want to highlight it. It's not politics it's policy," McAllister said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does endorse a number of candidates. On Tuesday alone, the U.S. endorsed three candidates, including New Hampshire Democrat Chris Pappas, who is running for another term in the Granite State's 2nd Congressional District.
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce does not endorse candidates, however, and on occasion will support or oppose certain ballot questions.
"When it comes to candidates, we want to work with whomever, to be able to speak up for business and not be ignored, because you chose to represent one over the other," Maine Chamber President Dana Connors said.
"Whatever decisions they make about endorsing or not endorsing, that's just not why I do the job," Golden said.
Golden's two opponents on the November ballot, independent Tiffany Bond and former Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin, expressed criticism over the recognition.
"It’s always nice to hear when groups feel they have been represented, though it would have been nice to hear directly what he believes these successes are at the Lewiston Auburn Chamber of Commerce Meet the Candidates event last Wednesday that he chose not to attend. As someone who runs a small business and has served on the Board of Directors for a Chamber of Commerce, we still have so very far to go in changes to federal law needed to fully support small businesses in Maine," Bond wrote to NEWS CENTER Maine.
"Jared Golden claims to be against corporations but then is taking support from the biggest corporations in the country. Hypocritical. I have and will always stand up and fight for Maine’s small businesses," Roy Matthews, press secretary for Poliquin, wrote.