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Kellie Greene
Kellie Greene

Greene says she's the "true" conservative in GOP primary

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Kellie Greene has tossed her hat into the mix of candidates seeking to defeat U.S. Rep. Bill Owens in the upcoming congressional election. The Sackets Harbor woman describes herself as a "true" constitutional conservative. She says she's been sitting on the sidelines long enough and is ready to make a go of it.

Greene formally announced her candidacy during an event in Watertown last week. She's challenging businessman Matt Doheny, a former Wall Street financier, for the Republican and Conservative party lines. A primary has been set for June 26. Chris Morris has more on the candidate.

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Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

Kellie Greene is a native of Oswego. The 44-year-old has degrees from Syracuse University and the Rochester Institute of Technology. She’s currently wrapping up studies online at Fuller Theological Seminary, which has campuses in California and Arizona.

“I’m just frankly tired of what’s going on in Washington, D.C.,” Green said. “It seems like no matter which election cycle we go through, we get more of the same. We get a lot of empty promises. We get people who go, we think they’re good people, and then they get there and it’s politics as usual. And they end up getting nothing done, and now look where we are. We have record deficits, we are out of control (with) spending, and we have an economy the last time I checked wasn’t getting much better, at least not for me and the people that I know.”

Green is against abortion and gay marriage. She says she is the “true, principled conservative” in the congressional race and that she views Matt Doheny as more moderate.

“I don’t mean that as a disrespect to him; I just see him, based on his answers and how he has run in the past, as being more of a moderate,” Greene said. “If somebody is looking for a true conservative who will follow the Constitution and want to restore constitutional principles and who is staunchly conservative on fiscal issues and on social issues, then I am absolutely that person across the board.”

Greene says the big issues in this race are the economy, jobs, debt and deficit, and national security.

The country’s trade policies work against economic growth, Greene says, adding that she agrees with the idea of free trade but believes that in the real world, there’s no such thing.

“So the best we can hope for is having a fair trade situation,” Greene said. “And we have to work within what works for us in order to set those trade policies to attract businesses to come here and keep businesses from leaving in the first place. And those are things that haven’t been looked at too closely in the last several years.”

Within the district, Greene says her two biggest concerns are border policy and the future of Fort Drum. She says she’s “extraordinarily passionate” about border issues, and that her experience working abroad and living in Arizona makes her uniquely qualified to tackle border policy.

“Our northern border, as a whole, not just in New York but the entire northern border, has an incredible problem with Ecstasy coming into the United States,” she said. “Seizures on our northern border are eight times greater with Ecstasy than they are on our southern border. Obviously we have a different drug of choice coming across the Canadian border, but it is, nonetheless, a big issue.”

The idea of a Base Realignment and Closure procedure, floated recently by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, bothers Greene.

“I think we have some serious strategic arguments that we can make for why Fort Drum shouldn’t even be on that list to begin with and to fight vigorously to make sure it’s not,” Greene said. “It would be wasteful, frankly, and stupid for the government, after spending all of the money that they have poured into this in building it up, to close it.”

Greene says she hopes to tap into voter dissatisfaction by courting moderate Democrats who aren’t happy with Owens.

“You know, they’re not all that different from us (conservatives),” Greene said. “They have the same goals right now and the same concerns that we as a country are going in the wrong direction. And they’re frustrated, and they want somebody they can trust. That is what I hear over and over. Someone they know will listen to them and talk to them, and even if they disagree with them will explain to them why they’re making a decision that is different than them instead of just ignoring them.”

Doheny declined to comment on Greene’s congressional bid. Owens spokesman Sean Magers says the congressman “appreciates that so many constituents are involved in the political process.” Magers adds that Owens “looks forward to a civil and healthy discussion on the issues.”

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