Albany Times Union: 21st District: Bill Owenshttp://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Editorial-Our-picks-for-Congress-3991540.php
Editorial: Our picks for Congress
21st District: Bill Owens
Rep. Bill Owens seems to understand how to represent this sprawling district of Rockefeller Republicans and Reagan Democrats. It says something that he's been endorsed in the past by both the association representing upstate hospitals and the state's largest health care union.
Now seeking a second full term, Mr. Owens, an attorney, seems more interested in bridging gaps than picking fights. He reached across party lines to work with Republican Chris Gibson on a Farm Bill. He says the issue needs to be argued on its facts — such as the reality that many beneficiaries of food stamps, are veterans and elderly. And on tax policy, he's willing to move the definition of "high income" to $500,000 if it would help get Congress to back off the looming fiscal cliff.
Mr. Owens' Republican opponent, Matthew Doheny of Watertown, a lawyer and investor, has staked out some ideological positions that don't always square with reality. He wants more drilling for oil, environmental concerns aside, in a nation that is now a net exporter and poised to become the world's largest producer. He objects to government investing in alternative energy and dismisses wind and solar power altogether. He rules out any new taxes on even the most wealthy.
Mr. Doheny also surprised us by all but refusing to state his position on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, claiming the issue has no relevance in New York. In fact, the act was made all the more relevant by the state's passage of gay marriage. While same-sex couples can now legally marry here, DOMA bars them from enjoying the same federal benefits as other married couples. Mr. Doheny grudgingly acknowledged he opposes DOMA's repeal.
Mr. Doheny's combativeness on the issue and his failure, or unwillingness, to see such an obvious impact is troubling beyond gay marriage. It suggests a lack of an essential quality in a representative — an understanding of how government policy affects people — and a temperament ill-suited to the spirit of cooperation we desperately need in Congress.
« Return to News page