Congressman Jared Golden’s Favorite Maine Place

The Leeds Countryside

Jared Golden's Favorite Place
Photograph by Benjamin Williamson
Jared Golden's Favorite Place
Jared Golden sits on the House’s Small Business and Armed Services committees.
Eastern Afghanistan’s Kumar Province in 2004 and Al-Anbar Province in Iraq in 2005 and 2006.
Alumni Associations
He’s the ninth Bates alum to serve in Congress, and the sixth to represent Maine.
The only freshman member of Maine’s four-person Congressional delegation, Jared Golden was elected to the U.S. Congress a year ago this month, the first federal rep to gain office under Maine’s ranked-choice voting system. The 37-year-old former marine and Bates College grad, a Democrat, represents Maine’s vast 2nd District — and the man has constituents to please, so maybe it’s no surprise he couldn’t name just one place.

Among the distinguished gentleman from central Maine’s most beloved spots are Mount Bigelow (“my favorite hike in Maine”), Stonington (“rugged beauty, everyone is friendly”), Madawaska (“I love the long, rolling farm fields, the backdrop of the hills, the St. John River”), and his current home of Lewiston (“until I got back from my deployments, I never realized how beautiful the skyline and a lot of the architecture is”).

But there’s only one place where Golden grew up, and that’s the farm town of Leeds, population 2,300ish, where his family still runs the Springbrook Golf Club. In a sense, however, Golden says he shouts out his hometown as a stand-in for a whole lifestyle.

“When I said that one of my favorite places is Leeds, I think in some ways I’m just speaking to the beauty of growing up in small-town Maine, in rural Maine,” he says. “It’s a side of Maine that a lot of people who come to visit our state miss.”

Part of the romance, Golden says, are the long, quiet stretches of road that he misses quite a bit in Washington. “In the summer months, if you’re driving a back road, and if you’re cruising with the windows down, and you can just hear the crickets and everything? It’s better than the radio,” Golden says. “People who grew up in a place like Leeds will know what I’m talking about.”

As a kid, though, it wasn’t cruising in cars that sold Golden on the rural life.

“For me, it was mowers — as soon as I was old enough to be on a mower, I was mowing,” the congressman remembers. “There’s something that’s just wonderful about being out and working when the sun comes up, in the pre-dawn. It’s just an amazing time of day. And I have this affinity, maybe from growing up mowing, where there’s nothing I love more than a beautiful field.”