Bill Owens

Bernt Rostad / Flickr

Upstate New York lawmakers are asking you to put them back in office, but how effective have they been?  

You probably will not be surprised to hear this Congress is the least active in the nation’s history. In the past two years, they have passed 181 bills that were signed into law by the president. Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, does not rate it very highly.

“This is an embarrassing and miserable Congress. Really one of the worst I've ever seen,” Ornstein says.  

David Sommerstein/NCPR

The green party candidate for Congress in the North Country's 21st district, Matt Funiciello, is coming under fire for his opinions on the September 11 terrorist attacks. Earlier this week, it was reported that Funiciello has questioned whether or not the U.S. government has told the truth about why the World Trade Center was destroy and Pentagon was damaged.

Matt Churchill/flickr

Watchdog groups say upstate New York lawmakers, along with lawmakers nationwide, are blurring the line between their campaigns and official duties as representatives.

During the last two elections New York and Pennsylvania Republicans campaigned on repealing and replacing so-called Obamacare – but House Republicans have yet to vote on a replacement plan.

Remember “repeal and replace”? It’s the campaign slogan that helped Republicans gain control of the House in 2010 and keep that majority in 2012. House leaders have done what they can to repeal the law – the GOP has cast more than 40 votes to scrap or defund all or part of the Affordable Care Act. But where’s the replacement?

Doug Kerr / via Flickr

Despite a bipartisan bill making its way through Congress to keep road and bridge projects funded, there’s still concerns about the long-term health of the highway fund. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives has passed short-term funding that was based on a budget gimmick. The Senate is expected to take it up soon. But several lawmakers in the region say Congress is failing voters by avoiding a long-term solution.

While more fuel-efficient cars and trucks may be good for your wallet and the environment, they may not be so good for roads.

11:05 pm: Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) declares victory over Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney in Republican primary in 22nd Congressional District. There is no Democrat running in the general election in November.

10:38 pm: Republican candidate Matt Doheny concedes to Elise Stefanik in the race to be the party's nominee for the 21st Congressional District in November.

The 21st district covers the North Country and is currently represented by Rep. Bill Owens (D), who announced his retirement earlier this year.

WWNY-TV

For the past few months, North Country voters have heard a lot about the two Republican candidates running to represent the party in this fall's election for New York's 21st Congressional District. But the differences between Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny aren't really that vast.

Both Stefanik and Doheny oppose the Affordable Care Act and want better care for military veterans. But while their national policies tow the Republican line, they have sparred some on the local level. For example, the two disagree on the I-98 "Rooftop Highway" project.

NYS Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment

Republican party leaders are bullish when it comes to New York state's congressional elections this November.

NYS Democratic Party

The endorsed Democratic candidate for Bill Owens' seat in Congress finally broke his media silence Wednesday, speaking with several North Country media outlets. Aaron Woolf spoke with North Country Public Radio's David Sommerstein on a range of issues, from gun control and health care to why a political rookie wants to represent the region. Democratic county chairs chose Woolf to run a month ago, but he had declined interviews until now.

Martha Foley/NCPR

The elusive Democrat who's running for Bill Owens' seat is meeting privately with local leaders across the 21st Congressional District. Documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf met with Warren County Democrats in Lake George Wednesday night after visiting the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce in Canton.

It's been more than three weeks since party leaders endorsed Woolf. Even though he's barely spoken with the media, Woolf says he's been busy.

Hi-Lite

A Jefferson County company is planning to expand with the help of a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Hi-Lite Airfield Services, in Adams Center, plans to create between eight and 10 new jobs, according to a news release from Rep. Bill Owens’s (D-Plattsburgh) office. The company also plans to buy new equipment with the $7.1 million loan from the USDA’s Rural Development program.

Joanna Richards

The Defense Department has named Fort Drum as one of four military installations to house a possible East Coast missile defense facility. 

Joanna Richards / WRVO file photo

State Assemblywoman Addie Russell’s name surfaced as a possible Democratic contender for the 21st Congressional District seat, after Rep. Bill Owens announced he won’t run again. 

North Country Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in November -- surprising the political establishment and putting the seat for the 21st Congressional District up for grabs.

New work space fills gap for small food producers

Sep 26, 2013
Joanna Richards

A new commercial kitchen in Sackets Harbor is starting to help small food producers grow their businesses. The shared-use facility is the first of its kind in Jefferson County.

In a dining room full of chattering officials from local government, agriculture and economic development, people dug into the first products of the new kitchen: Christine Hoffman's pepper jelly and fruit jam.

Hanna, Owens support delaying vote on Syria

Sep 12, 2013

The ongoing civil war in Syria is dominating the discussion in Washington this week.  Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents an area from Utica to Binghamton, was one of many congressmen who received a classified briefing on Syria.

He said the U.S. should be looking at the Russian proposal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, fairly, but also with some skepticism. Hanna, a Republican, said going to war again is not the best option.

Maffei, Owens talk about upcoming Syria vote

Sep 5, 2013
Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

While Congress prepares to vote on whether or not to take military action against Syria, two local members of Congress are still considering all the facts. Syracuse-area Democrat Dan Maffei says he is looking at the big picture, but says he still has questions that need to be answered, including how it will impact American service members.

As Congress begins to debate a resolution to authorize United States military action in Syria, members of the New York congressional delegation are expressing their opinion publicly about what should be done.

Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican who represents parts of the Finger Lakes and Souther Tier regions, has been conducting a listening tour in his district to gather opinions from his constituents.

Barack Obama / Flickr

Some area members of Congress say they support President Barack Obama's decision to seek congressional approval for a military strike against Syria.

Congressmen representing central and northern New York all agree that the recent IRS profiling of conservative organizations, including tea party groups, is wrong.

The U.S. military is in the process of cutting almost half a trillion dollars from its budget over ten years. The Pentagon says the cuts will lead to a more agile force with a new strategic mission. A new Army report weighs alternatives for restructuring that could affect Fort Drum. Under one scenario, the post could see an increase of 3,000 soldiers, but under another, it could lose up to 8,000 soldiers and 15 percent of its civilian workforce.

Maffei hopes for bipartisan cooperation on the economy

Jan 11, 2013

Just a week after being sworn in a second time, Syracuse area Rep. Dan Maffei appeared back in the district in East Syracuse Friday afternoon. The Democrat from DeWitt said that he hopes Congress will be able to work through their differences by focusing on the economy.

Owens holds on to North Country congressional seat

Nov 7, 2012

Democrat Bill Owens survived one of the most costly and bitter political campaigns in North Country history last night. He defeated Republican businessman Matt Doheny by about 4,000 votes.

Poll shows Doheny-Owens race in statistical tie

Nov 1, 2012
Amanda Morrison / Watertown Daily Times

The two candidates running for the North Country's congressional seat are in a statistical tie, according to the latest poll from Siena College. Republican Matt Doheny trailed incumbent Democrat Bill Owens by 13 points in Siena's last poll seven weeks ago. Owens now leads by just one point in the poll released today, which showed the Democrat receiving 44 percent support, to Doheny's 43 percent.

Jobs were top issue for audience at Doheny-Owens debate

Oct 27, 2012

In northern New York, a large audience showed up for the debate televised on YNN was held in the contentious race between Democrat incumbent Bill Owens and Republican challenger Matt Doheny. 

Owens and Doheny face off in a televised debate

Oct 26, 2012
Amanda Morrison / Watertown Daily Times

The two major party candidates met for the last debate in the North Country's Congressional race last night in Watertown. Incumbent Democrat Bill Owens and Republican Matt Doheny sparred on well-trodden ground, like tax cuts, the deficit, and Medicare. They also differed, sharply at times, on a range of other issues.

Democrat Congressman Bill Owens from Plattsburgh says passage of the federal farm bill that has stalled in Washington is one of his top priorities.

Owens works the senior vote in the North Country

Aug 25, 2012
David Sommerstein / North Country Public Radio

Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) is making Medicare a big issue in his race with Republican Matt Doheny.

Senior citizens vote at higher rates than the rest of the population.  So they’ll be key to the eventual winner of the North Country’s 21st Congressional district.  And issues important to seniors, like health care law and Medicare, will take front stage until November.

Owens’ campaign has been ratcheting up the debate with Doheny on Medicare.

Congressman Bill Owens has released the first television advertisement of his re-election campaign --  a day after his Republican opponent Matt Doheny did.

Two of the region's most hotly contested political races have taken to the airwaves with their first television commercials.

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