Democratic Congressman Bill Owens held a telephone town hall with constituents across his sprawling northern New York district Thursday evening.
Democrat Bill Owens was first elected in November 2009 and currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee and two of its subcommittees - Defense and Homeland Security. He began his telephone town hall with an overview of key issues and concerns he says are facing the 113th Congress.
Owens added there have been modest improvement in jobs across the region, but more employment training is needed. He noted that the main source of jobs and economic development comes from Canada, and solicitations should be targeted north of the border. He also plans to continue to push FEMA to obtain all possible benefits in the wake of recent flooding.
Callers addressed a number of issues during the hour, including the impact of sequestration, the tax code, student loan rates, Medicare and Medicaid, jobs, and agriculture.
Watertown resident John Persons was dubious about implementation of the Affordable Care Act and was curious whether Congressman Owens would support modifications to the law.
From Carthage, a town near Fort Drum , Gail Taylor was worried that Congress does not realize the impact furloughs have on families. Taylor is concerned homes will be lost and is frustrated. Owens assured her there is comprehension about what is happening.
Cambridge caller Arlene Beckley Carpenter said farmers are becoming a dying breed and wanted to know how Owens and Congress can help.
Marie Vot of Plattsburgh wondered what could be done in Congress when important bills come up, but are pushed aside. Owens unleashed his frustration over how he says Republican leadership handles legislation.
New York’s 21st Congressional District is one of the largest, geographically, east of the Mississippi. It comprises more than 16,000 square miles and includes all, or part of, 12 counties.