Here’s another young elected we love. Know a young elected we should spotlight? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get them posted!
Meet Representative Adam Goode (Bangor)
Name: Representative Adam Goode
Occupation: Community Organizer
Hometown: Bangor, Maine
Representing: part of Bangor
Why do you love Maine?
I love Maine, and Bangor, because of the friendliness of its people. When you are in Maine and see a stranger, it is expected that you smile and say “hi.” I like that.
I also like many of the values that we have in our state. We understand the importance of working together. Whether it is helping a neighbor shovel their driveway or supporting a local business, Maine people understand that no one gets ahead when we go it alone.
Why did you decide to run for office? Was it hard?
In 2008, I was in the only three-way Democratic primary for a seat in the Maine House of Representatives. I ran because I felt like there were lots of policy experts in the legislature, but not a lot of people who had backgrounds doing community organizing and communicating how public policy effects everyday people.
It was hard and very time consuming, but I really enjoyed it. I’m much more comfortable engaging with regular folks and listening to what is going on in their lives than spending a day reading complex statutes.
What are your legislative priorities for 2011 and 2012?
I was first elected in 2008, right at the start of the recession. Since then, there has been lots of scapegoating about what has gone wrong in our economy. Lots of elected officials are quick to blame environmental rules, public servants and teachers, taxes or low income families for the economic downturn. For the next two years, I plan to focus on addressing the real cause of the recession: our extreme over-reliance on wall street to run our economy.
I’m excited about bills in this legislature that will prevent health insurance rate hikes for Mainers, raise wages for working families, protect sick Mainers from hospital acquired infections, and ensure that we aren’t unnecessarily keeping Maine money in wall street banks. I also plan to focus on job creation. Jobs are created when there is more money in the pockets of those who will spend it locally. I plan to support legislation that will make that happen.
What’s your favorite aspect of public service?
I love that I often get intimate and moving letters, phone calls and emails from constituents sharing the struggles they face in their day to day lives.
What’s your largest obstacle to success right now?Maine is lucky that we have a true “citizen’s legislature.” Legislative pay is quite low, and each member of the Maine House shares one aide with around 10 other legislators. It is difficult to serve in the Maine House when you are not wealthy. Aside from my legislative service, I balance a career and education. It is important that folks from all income backgrounds serve in the House, and that serves as a constant reminder about why I initially ran. It is difficult to balance both service and work though.
Would you encourage other young people to run for office in Maine and Why?
Of course! The legislature benefits from having diverse perspectives. While we are a little ahead of the curve compared to most states, there is a need to encourage more candidates from diverse backgrounds when it comes to age, gender, race and a number of other categories that shape our lives.
Young candidates add a different perspective. They know what it is like to try to struggle to find a sustainable career, have often recently worked in low-wage and minimum wage jobs, rent apartments, struggle to buy their first home and understand the difficulties one faces when they want to further their education. It is important to that decision makers hear that perspective.
Who do you most admire in Maine?
Members of my immediate family who have worked long hours for modest pay in order to get by and in hopes of improving their quality of life.
And… if you could have dinner with any elected official past or present who would it be and why?
I like eating dinner with different friends in the Maine House. The figures from our country’ s past that I would like to have dinner with tend not to have gotten elected. It would be cool to have dinner with Woody Guthrie or Upton Sinclair.