Bill Owens

Bill Owens: An Angel Fund In The North Country?

Jun 30, 2015

In the nearly thirty-five years that I have been involved as an attorney, bank director, member of Congress and volunteer in economic development, one of the most pressing issues by business consistently is the lack of startup capital.

Bill Owens: Graduation Speeches

Jun 23, 2015

This is the season for graduation speeches.  Looking at clips on TV of some of those speeches, I saw humor, guitar playing, famous people giving speeches, not so famous people giving speeches, inappropriate statements being made by a certain actor, in my view, all of which brought a question to mind.  Having given a few commencement speeches during my term in Congress, and most recently giving the commencement speech at SUNY Canton in early May, I wonder what the graduates and parents are thinking as they listen to these speeches.  Are they entertained?  Did they learn anything? More importantly, do they even remember?  Having attended my undergraduate and graduate commencement programs, and multiple graduation ceremonies for my children, I have no recollection who any of the speakers were except when John Lewis, a Congressional colleague spoke at my son’s graduation from Law School.  I wonder if my children do?  That is not to say that the speakers weren’t interesting and entertaining people, but most of us had other things on our mind.  Relief, exhilaration, a bank account that was going to be replenished, the ability to enjoy August and January again (that’s when tuition bills come).

Bill Owens: 2nd Circuit Gets It Right

May 14, 2015

The Decision last week by the 2nd Circuit finding that the interpretation of the Patriot Act by NSA and the FISA Court was without the statutory basis with regard to mega data collection is the right outcome for our fundamental freedoms.

Bill Owens: Drought Versus Abundance

Apr 30, 2015

News stories over the past several weeks have raised awareness of extremely serious drought over the southwestern United States; with particularly dire forecasts for California.  NASA scientists and other experts predict that the condition will persist over decades, and that larger sections of the country will be affected. The northeast, however, will also likely experience more moisture.  Hopefully, it won’t all fall as snow along the northeast coast!

Bill Owens: The Wealth Gap - Solutions

Mar 27, 2015

There has been much chatter out of Washington about the wealth gap with both Democrats and Republicans promoting wildly different perspectives, but not offering much in the way of solutions.

Bill Owens: Those Oil Cars

Feb 28, 2015

I was traveling through Albany the other day and passed over the railroad tracks in downtown Albany, and as I did so, below me was an endless stream of oil tank cars.  I couldn’t tell if they were the famous DT111s, or the “safer 1232s.”  The recent accidents in Mount Carbon West Virginia and a remote area north of Timmons, Ontario, both resulted in substantial derailments and oil spills.  If you are stopped at any railroad crossing in northern New York, you will see endless streams of oil tank cars, as I observed in Albany. 

Bill Owens: A DHS Shutdown

Feb 25, 2015

The recent threat to shut down the Department of Homeland Security for those of us in the North Country, given our proximity to the US/Canadian border and our dependence upon it, is truly troubling.

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First-time officeholder New York Democrat Bill Owens entered Congress after winning a special election in November 2009 when his predecessor, Republican John McHugh, was appointed Secretary of the Army.  The 65-year old Owens was the first Democrat to represent the 16,000-square mile district since the Civil War era. Last January, he announced he would retire from his seat.  In this first part of a two-part series, WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley talks with Owens about his House experience and future plans.

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In January, Congressman Bill Owens of New York’s 21st district announced he would retire. That set off a scramble to find a Democratic candidate. District chairs eventually chose filmmaker Aaron Woolf to run against Republican Elise Stefanik.  But the Democratic campaign has been bumpy with polls showing Woolf 10 points behind and the House Majority Political Action Committee pulling nearly $300,000 in ads. Bill Owens has supported Woolf’s campaign, making joint appearances and calls to gain support.  Owens, the first Democrat to represent the district since Reconstruction, tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that he’s not concerned about the challenges facing the Democratic candidate.

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New York’s 21st Congressional district includes the Fort Drum military installation, and because there once was a large air force facility in Plattsburgh, many veterans live across the region. So any military moves made by the federal government — such as the current bombing in Syria and Iraq —pique the interest of constituents. Democratic Representative Bill Owens voted in favor of the resolution that authorized the training of the Syrian opposition. He says representatives recognized that in voting in favor of that, they were actually authorizing the air strikes in Syria and Iraq.

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