Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, and his Nov. 6 opponent, Republican Matthew A. Doheny, said that their top priority for bringing jobs to the north country lies outside the halls of Congress.
Its not exactly Mr. Smith goes to Washington. In this case, the two candidates for the House of Representatives say theyll stay close to home, work the phones and help local leaders connect with businesses or navigate the federal government. Their one vote out of 435 in the House of Representatives, their answers suggest, is not the most important part of the job, as they see it.
Most public opinion surveys indicate that creating jobs is the issue first and foremost on many voters minds. Mr. Owens and Mr. Doheny both lay claim to the job-creator mantle.
While there are some minor policy differences, and a subtle contrast in private versus public focus, both men said that behind-the-scenes work was most important.
Mr. Doheny, who spent the better part of the 2000s working for New York City-based investment firms, said he has the business know-how and the personal contacts from his work history that would help bring jobs to the north country.
Ive been successful, said Mr. Doheny, who said he would be the salesman-in-chief for the district. I understand how businesses work.
Mr. Owens, who spent his private-sector career as part of a team that tried to lure businesses to the Plattsburgh area from Canada, said that such calls have been routine since he was elected to Congress in 2009.
Its something I think is appropriate, Mr. Owens said. What it conveys is, the community is integrated.
Mr. Owens said his experience is local, an attempt to subtly contrast his record with Mr. Dohenys.
I think part of it plays out by reaching out to employers, reaching out to workforce investment boards, Mr. Owens said. Then helping them, if you will, navigate to utilize the resources available through the government, whether its at the federal or state level.
Asked to name three public policy initiatives that he felt were most important, Mr. Owens kept it local. He said that federal policy should make the border with Canada more permeable to goods, that Congress should provide tax credits to companies for creating jobs and that government support for programs, such as a slaughterhouse in Ticonderoga, should be sustained.
Asked the same question, Mr. Doheny kept it to four policy initiatives: passing legislation that would allow Congress to accept or reject burdensome regulations, keeping taxes low, repealing the Affordable Care Act and investing in broadband, cellular telephone service and roads and bridges.