SARANAC LAKE - Bill Owens, a Brooklyn native, moved to Plattsburgh 32 years ago while in the U.S. Air Force. He said he has volunteered in many groups in the community, "from Little League to ballet to the foundation boards at the college and hospital." He said he is running for Congress because "I think this is a very unique opportunity to give back to the community."
Owens is the Democratic and Working Families party candidate for New York's 23rd District congressional seat, which became vacant last month when longtime U.S. Rep. John McHugh resigned to become Army secretary. Dede Scozzafava is the Republican and Independence party candidate, Doug Hoffman the Conservative. The special election is Nov. 3.
Owens said he thinks much of the stimulus money was misdirected, and more of it should be spent on infrastructure projects such as Interstate 98 (formerly called the "rooftop highway"), a proposed-four lane highway from Plattsburgh to Watertown which, he said, he supports. He said the existence of the Northway has driven the expansion of Canadian business into Clinton County, "because you can move the goods." Such projects, Owens said, create jobs while they're being built and continue to after, due to how they help businesses.
Owens said he "would not look favorably" upon a second stimulus package, which is being discussed, although he would be willing to consider it if the economy doesn't improve.