Former New York Congressman Bill Owens was a member of the Appropriations Committee and subcommittees on Defense and Homeland Security during his six years in the House. He now works as an attorney and consultant on U.S.-Canada relations.  The Democrat tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that Canadians are closely watching the transition of government in Washington.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Office of the Canadian Prime Minister

In November, Justin Trudeau was sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada after defeating Stephen Harper in a surprise landslide.  Relations between the U.S. and the former Canadian leader had been lukewarm and cross-border visits by the heads of state were rare.  But that may be changing.  Prime Minister Trudeau will travel to Washington this week for a state visit.  Former North Country New York Congressman Bill Owens was co-chair of the congressional Northern Border Caucus while in office.  He currently is an advisor on cross border commerce and policy.  Owens, who will attend the opening reception for Trudeau in Washington, discussed the importance of the visit to WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley.

Former 23rd district Representative Bill Owens has returned the balance of his congressional office budget to the treasury.

photo provided

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.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

A new WWNY-7 News/Siena College poll released Monday night shows Republican Elise Stefanik leading her challengers in New York’s 21st district congressional race by 18 points. With less than a week left before voting begins, Democrat Aaron Woolf spent part of Tuesday rallying his supporters in Plattsburgh, with help from retiring Congressman Bill Owens.

photo provided

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.

photo provided

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.

Photos provided

New York Congressman Bill Owens held a conference call this morning with fellow Democrat Aaron Woolf, who is seeking to replace the retiring Owens. The two criticized the Republican challenger in the 21st Congressional District race and called on her to support bills to enhance economic opportunity.

New York Congressman Bill Owens represents New York’s 21st Congressional District, which stretches from the St. Lawrence River to Lake Champlain and Syracuse to the Canadian border. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley spoke with the retiring Democrat this morning on several national and international issues.

photo provided

As he prepared to return to Washington following the Memorial Day recess, Congressman Bill Owens, a Democrat from the 21st district, spoke to WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about issues facing returning representatives.

photo provided

New York Congressman Bill Owens held one of his periodic telephone town halls with constituents Wednesday evening.

The race for New York’s 21st Congressional district is far from settled, despite the fact that both parties have already endorsed candidates. Former two-time candidate Matt Doheny announced his bid this morning, the third Republican in the primary.

Aaron Woolf

Democratic chairs in the 12-county 21st Congressional district have announced their endorsement of a candidate to run for the seat being vacated by retiring New York Congressman Bill Owens. They’ve selected an individual with no political background.

Aaron Woolf

The Democratic chairs from the 12 counties of the 21st Congressional District have endorsed a candidate to run for the seat being vacated by retiring Congressman Bill Owens.

There have been a number of names put forth as potential Democratic candidates to run in New York’s 21st congressional district now that incumbent Bill Owens has announced his retirement. Among the possibilities is Republican Dede Scozzafava. Scozzafava was in Plattsburgh today, and North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley asked if she would run.

photo provided

NY 21st District Congressman Bill Owens announced last week that he would retire after five years in the House of Representatives. North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley spoke to the North Country’s representative about his future plans.

The abrupt announcement Tuesday that Congressman Bill Owens will retire from his seat in Congress means the sprawling 21st district is an open race.

photo provided

The 113th Congress has returned to work following a holiday recess and several issues are expected to dominate the agenda. Before he left for Washington, New York’s 21st District Representative Democrat Bill Owens discussed some of the key issues representatives must address. 

Picture of marijuana plant
wikipedia commons

North Country Congressman Democrat Bill Owens says he has no objection to Governor Cuomo’s plan to allow some hospitals in New York to dispense medical marijuana. 

photo provided

New York Congressman Bill Owens of the 21st District held a telephone town hall Thursday evening focused on one issue: the Affordable Care Act. 


Reaction from congressional representatives in Vermont and northern New York to the agreement ending the government shutdown and avoiding default came quickly on Wednesday.


The government shutdown is garnering fierce criticism from Democrats, including Congressman Bill Owens. The Democrat from New York’s 21st district held a conference call with reporters from the region Tuesday afternoon to talk about the potential repercussions.

Congressman Bill Owens went back to school this week. He toured Plattsburgh High School Tuesday to assess various programs and see the effects of budget cuts.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection patch
Department of Homeland Security/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Officials in Clinton County are chastising plans by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials to reduce staffing on the northern border.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch and upstate New York Congressman Bill Owens, both Democrats, held telephone town halls with their constituents Monday evening.

The U.S. House defeated the Farm Bill on Thursday afternoon. In our region, two Congressmen who had worked for years to obtain passage of the bill voted on opposite sides.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

New York Congressman Bill Owens toured a beer distributor in Plattsburgh this afternoon.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Northern New York’s congressman has formed an advisory committee on agricultural issues.

Flanker/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

A forum on cross-border trade with Canada was held Friday morning in northern New York.  Congressman Bill Owens hosted Canadian and U.S. officials and business interests at Clarkson University for a discussion on trade and cross-border economic strategies.

A northern New York Congressman is re-introducing three farming related bills that had been proposed in the previous session of Congress. The bills were part of the 2012 Farm Bill, which has yet to be passed by the U.S. House.