LEWISTON, Maine — A crowd of a few dozen people gathered outside Maine Congressman Jared Golden's office Saturday. A similar crowd formed outside his office in Bangor at the same time.
The goal of both events was to urge Golden to support the Build Back Better Act, which the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on in the coming days.
Speakers in Lewiston addressed the benefits of the bill that they say will make a "once-in-a-generation investment" in the people of Maine and across America.
The bill is another piece of legislation President Joe Biden is trying to sign into law after his long-debated infrastructure package made it through the Senate and House and is expected to be made law Monday with Biden's signature.
Earlier this month, Golden released a statement that said he requests more time to further read and learn about the Build Back Better Act.
"I am still at the table and ready to work, but we need the time and information to do this right and I am not currently in a position to support this bill," Golden said in that statement.
On Saturday, a spokesman with the Congressman said Golden needed more time to review the legislation.
“Political speech and the freedom to assemble are important to Congressman Golden, and he appreciates hearing from all of his constituents," Nick Gellar wrote. "He is reviewing the over 2,000 page bill and awaiting cost and budget analysis of the legislation before making a decision on how he will vote. Congressman Golden believes that when discussing millions, billions, and especially trillions of taxpayer dollars, that level of attention to detail is important.”
In Lewiston on Saturday, six speakers addressed many of the key points in the bill which include climate change, affordable housing, child tax credit, paid family leave, and health care investment.
Claire Holman is a senior at Maranacook High School and a youth climate activist. She said she wanted to speak at Saturday's event because this bill will address investment needs to deal with climate change.
"I think me and the people that I work with are all looking at how we can make a difference in ensuring our future and our kid's futures and preserving this world we grew up in," Holman added.
Other speakers said it would help parents and families across the state and the country.
Betsy Sweet, a Democratic political activist who ran for U.S. Senate and Maine governor, was the final speaker of the event.
She said the time is now to invest in people and she added she's frustrated at Golden and other members of Congress for the timing of their in-depth analysis.
"So [now] the accounting pencils come out when [the] military budget gets passed like that," Sweet said. "And so we have got to do better, we have got to say, we have got to change and say it is time now for an investment in our people and that's what this bill is all about."