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GOP primary tomorrow: Doheny v. Greene

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Republican voters in New York's new 21st Congressional District have two choices when they head to the polls tomorrow: Matt Doheny and Kellie Greene. Doheny, a businessman from Watertown and a former Wall Street financier, is a familiar face. He ran against Democrat Bill Owens in 2010 and narrowly lost. His second run has widespread support among Republican, Conservative and Independence Party leaders across the North Country. Greene, a shipping and logistics specialist from Sackets Harbor, is a political newcomer looking to use grassroots support to beat Doheny. Chris Morris has more.

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Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

On the big tickets issues in this congressional race, Matt Doheny and Kellie Greene are on the same page: they want Obamacare repealed, taxes cut and the role of government limited. However, the candidates do have their differences.

When it comes to repealing and replacing President Obama’s health care law, Doheny favors an incremental approach. “We have to look at the data, specific targets in terms of what specific areas need to be dealt with from a federal legislation perspective, but do it in a way that still has to be incremental so that the American people can buy into it,” Doheny said during a recent interview. “The American people never bought into Obamacare.”

For Greene, replacing Obamacare starts with tort reform. She says it’s also important to let people cross state lines to purchase insurance. “Competition and the free market is absolutely the answer,” Greene said. “If we are able to buy insurance across state lines with that competition, we’re going to see the prices drop significantly, which helps businesses who want to provide it for their employees and for those of us who are self-insured, drops the price down.”

Greene says cutting government spending and cutting the federal deficit are top priorities for her. She says reforming so-called entitlement programs, while unpopular, can accomplish those goals. “Now what does that look like? Because that scares people, especially our seniors,” Greene said. “We know that right now we have an economy that is extremely hurt, and we have an awful lot of people who are utilizing services they never, ever thought that they were going to utilize, so I don’t think this ‘pull the rug out’ approach is the right approach. What we need is some sort of systematic approach.” Greene says she favors the Heritage Plan, which includes gradual entitlement reform she says will balance the budget in 10 years.

Doheny says cutting annual deficits is a good first step toward cutting the federal deficit. He adds that lawmakers need to do a better job prioritizing spending. “I’ve been very clear running for Congress: defense is job number one, doing the basic infrastructure that only government can do is number two, and then we have to go ahead and take care of people and all of the other programs that come with that,” Doheny said. “The way to do it is across-the-board spending cuts. The way to deal with it is in a data-driven bipartisan solution, because only then can you actually get the government down to a level so it actually makes sense and will not continue to take up as much resources from our economy.”

Doheny says in his first year in office, he’d work to reduce unemployment, balance the budget and promote better cooperation among House lawmakers. In Greene’s first year, she would eliminate waste, balance the budget and promote telecommunication infrastructure.

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