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Rep. Bill Owens at the legislative luncheon in Saranac Lake. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Rep. Bill Owens at the legislative luncheon in Saranac Lake. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Owens gives Obama points, considering the political climate

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Democratic Representative Bill Owens says President Barack Obama is doing a "very reasonable job." Owens, who represents New York's 23rd Congressional District, spoke about Obama's job performance during a legislative luncheon at the Downhill Grill in Saranac Lake on Friday.

The event was hosted by the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and drew a crowd of about 25 local business owners and officials. Chris Morris reports.

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Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

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Chandler Ralph, president and CEO of Adirondack Health, put Owens on the spot by asking him how he thinks Obama is doing.

Owens says given the circumstances he was dealt, Obama’s doing OK. “I think the programs that he’s advancing make sense,” Owens said. “I think they are long term. We’ve got, clearly, some structural problems in the United States, both in terms of debt but also in terms of the unemployment area, and we need to figure those things out. From that perspective, I think he’s offering some programs that are very helpful.”

Owens says he likes Obama’s proposal to revamp the corporate tax structure, although he anticipates “huge resistance” from lobbyists.

Owens says he doesn’t think Congress will make any big decisions in the coming months because of the upcoming election. He says lawmakers could act on a transportation bill and a farm bill, but that’s it. “The greater likelihood, however, is that we won’t see much action until after the elections in November, and then we will have a very, very busy lame-duck session,” Owens said.

Owens says he sees the nation’s economic climate getting a little bit better. He notes that jobs numbers released last week showed no increase in the number of people filing for unemployment, and that the stock market is surging.

But Owens says new jobs aren’t being created quickly enough. “I think we all agree that when you have high levels of unemployment, you have high levels of discontent, and it makes the entire atmosphere really negative,” he said. “And if there’s one part of the process that you can affect actually more than we can is to turn the conversation from the negative to the positive.”

In Saranac Lake, I’m Chris Morris, North Country Public Radio.

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