New Yorks redrawn 21st Congressional District covers all of Northern New York and most of the states border with Vermont. It extends from Watertown to Plattsburgh and south to Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs and into parts of the Capital District. It is geographically sprawling, sparsely populated and economically needy.
The district requires a representative who understands the unique interests and character of the region someone who is familiar with the small towns and cities across the northern part of the state from Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain, the farms, Fort Drum, Tug Hill, the Adirondacks, the Thousand Islands and parts of Central New York. That knowledge must be put to use to spark economic revival in the region.
Congressman William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, has represented Northern New York for three years in the 23rd Congressional District, winning three-way races in 2009 and 2010. He is challenged by Matthew A. Doheny, R-Watertown, who narrowly lost to Mr. Owens in 2010 in a race that included Conservative Douglas L. Hoffman.
Both candidates in the 2012 race for new District 21 are attorneys and businessmen who have cited job creation and economic development as top priorities. This is important since high unemployment haunts the district, which sorely needs new ideas and energy to create opportunities for economic growth.
The district also needs someone who will work aggressively on military matters and be our voice in Washington to ensure that Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division will remain a permanent part of Americas defense profile.
The representative of this district must work diligently to preserve the environmental integrity of the Thousand Islands. He must know the economics of the dairy industry and how to assist farmers. Understanding how regulation of water levels affects homeowners and ecology along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario is a must as well.
Mr. Owens has been an earnest congressman who has governed mainly from the middle. But he started his tenure by voting for President Barack Obamas Affordable Care Act, which has acted to suppress economic growth because of its many uncertainties. Democrats perpetuated the economic decline of the past four years. The Democrat-led approach of those years has not worked, and Mr. Owens has been a part of that.
Matt Doheny, a north country native, has crisscrossed the district nonstop for months, meeting people from all walks of life and listening to their concerns. He has shown passion and fire to represent Northern New York in Congress. Having built a successful business career on Wall Street, he has ideas to improve the business climate of Northern New York and energy to implement them. He is young and has a lot to offer.
Northern New York needs jobs, new businesses and a new vision for its future. We are experiencing an extraordinary period of political, economic and technological change. We all have much to learn to help this region grow more prosperous in an economically challenging time. We need someone who will be receptive to new missions at Fort Drum.
Mr. Owens has represented the region faithfully and honorably. But Mr. Dohenys business background, ideas and desire to spur economic resurgence in Northern New York make him the stronger candidate.
The Times recommends electing Matthew A. Doheny to the U.S. House representing New Yorks 21st Congressional District.