Rep. Golden, the National Popular Vote, and the Constitution

by Jonathan Reisman

In early November, I sent the following request to Rep. Golden:

I am writing about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which the Maine Legislature will be voting on in 2024 (LD 1587). I am specifically requesting that you submit legislation granting Congressional consent to this interstate compact, as required by Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution.

I believe the NPV is a too-cute-by-half effort to bypass the Constitutional Amendment process and abolish the Electoral College. Further, the NPV would disenfranchise every right-of-center voter in the 2nd CD.

I have also asked Senator Collins to sponsor NPV-enabling legislation.

I believe that advocacy for or against the NPV will be an issue in the 2nd CD GOP Congressional primary and in the general election.

In the interest of transparency, I was the 1998 GOP 2nd CD nominee.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Here is Rep. Golden’s non-responsive response:

“Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I’m honored to serve as your representative in Congress. I appreciate hearing your thoughts, and I hope this letter better connects you with my thinking and approach to this Congress. 

“This spring, I introduced the Northeast Fisheries Heritage Protection Act, which would prohibit commercial offshore wind energy development in Lobster Management Area 1 (LMA 1) in the Gulf of Maine. LMA 1 was identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) as a potential commercial offshore wind site. LMA 1 is a critical and highly productive fishing ground for a variety of sea life, including lobster. Prohibiting offshore wind development in LMA 1 would help to avoid conflict with the New England commercial and recreational fishing industries. Additionally, the bill would initiate a federal study on the environmental review processes of any relevant Federal agencies for offshore wind projects in the Gulf of Maine.

“Recently, Senator Collins, Senator King, Representative Pingree, and I called on the Biden Administration to increase locality pay for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees in Kennebec and Penobscot counties. The current pay for VA employees in these counties does not reflect the critical work they are doing. As the oldest state in the nation, with the fifth highest veteran population, Mainers rely on the services offered at VA facilities. The level of care received is impacted by job vacancies, and the high turnover rate among its healthcare workforce is often the result of pay and compensation issues, which is further exacerbated by the increased cost of living. 

“One of my top priorities in Congress is ensuring we make investments in Maine and America’s infrastructure, and I’m excited that Mainers are continuing to reap the benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Recently, millions of dollars in grants have been awarded across the state, including $35 million awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Culvert Aquatic Organism Passage (AOP) program to conserve spawning and migratory habitats for native fish species in Maine, $460,000 through the Airport Infrastructure Grant (AIG) program for the Princeton Municipal Airport, Stephen A. Bean Municipal Airport, and Dexter Regional Airport, and nearly $8 million through the Buses and Bus Facilities Program for Bangor’s bus system. These investments are critical to ensuring Maine’s infrastructure and will help to ensure Mainers and businesses across Maine are connected. 

“Thank you again for contacting me. If you would like to receive updates about this or other issues in the future, I invite you to sign up for my e-newsletter. I hope you will continue to inform me of the issues that matter to you.

“As a marine, Maine legislator, and member of Congress, Rep. Golden has taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution. I understand that as a Democrat, he likely believes in a “living” Constitution that can mean different things over time- for instance, that the 1st Amendment allows the government to censor speech and discriminate on the basis of race and religion or that the 2nd Amendment allows the Government to ban and confiscate certain scary weapons.”

I expected that he might choose to argue that the Compact Clause does not require interstate compacts to be approved by Congress. After all, Maine and a number of other states have joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to tax carbon emissions and fund favored climate alarmist policies without Congressional approval. Alternatively, he might have claimed that no Congressional approval was necessary, as the NPV Interstate Compact had not been enacted in Maine (yet).  Instead, he chose to issue a non-responsive response in violation of his oath of office and supposed commitment to moderation, bi-partisanship, and representation of the 2nd Congressional District.

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