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Owens, Doheny spar over jobs, Social Security

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The two men running for Congress in the North Country's 23rd district clashed over job creation and privatization of Social Security in a contentious debate today.

Democratic incumbent Bill Owens and his Republican challenger Matt Doheny agreed voters are most concerned about jobs and financial security. As Jonathan Brown reports, they then outlined the differences in their approach to stimulate the economy.
(Watch the full debate tonight on Public Eye, WPBS-TV, Watertown)

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Owens said Clinton, Jefferson and St Lawrence Counties recently attracted Canadian manufacturing plants and this strategy can be replicated across the sprawling district.

And he says it’s time to take the North Country’s intellectual capital and turn it into jobs that can support the next generation:

"I’ve been having conversations with Clarkson, with the Trudeau Institute about taking the scientific discoveries and scientific advances that they make in technology and using those to create small businesses in our communities. That is a clear way to begin that development. It relies on what we have here. It will allow those kids educated here to stay. And to get good paying jobs and it will also create good manufacturing jobs."

Doheny wants to make Bush-era tax cuts permanent. He says this will create jobs by assuring businesses the government won’t take away more of their income. And he said building cellular and broadband infrastructure would give a much-needed boost to the area’s economy:

"It is absolutely not acceptable that when you drive from Watertown over to Plattsburgh or to Saranac Lake that you don’t have cell phone coverage. It’s not only an economic issue, it’s a safety issue. So, we need to go ahead and give businesses large and small the certainty, we need to make sure they understand the tax cuts aren’t going away, that when you go out and create economic opportunity, you’re going to keep the money that you earn. And then lastly, the infrastructure, the basic infrastructure to allow people to compete in the 21st century. Whether you live in Chazy or Clayton to have that basic understanding."

At times, it appeared the candidates were campaigning more than debating. Both men returned to familiar talking points on legislation from health care to cap and trade.

You can watch the debate between Matt Doheny and Bill Owens—in its entirety—tonight at 9:00 o’clock on WPBS-TV.

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