PLATTSBURGH — Creating jobs has to be a top priority for the 23rd Congressional District, says Democratic candidate William Owens.
Owens, a Plattsburgh attorney, has been touring businesses throughout the district this week to talk about job creation. He was at SolarNovar, a solar-energy company in Plattsburgh, on Tuesday.
"The main thing that people are talking about is job creation and putting people back to work," Owens said.
He is seeking the seat that has been vacated by incumbent Republican John McHugh, who was confirmed this month as the new secretary of the Army.
Republican Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava of Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County and Conservative candidate Douglas Hoffman, an accountant from Lake Placid, are also running.
On Tuesday, Gov. David A. Paterson officially set the special election for the seat for Tuesday, Nov. 3, which is the same day as the general election.
CLAIMS ROLE IN 2,000 JOBS
Owens has been touting his involvement in helping to create about 2,000 jobs over the years, which has attracted criticism from opponents.
He explained that he has been working with Canadian companies for years in trying to help recruit them to the area.
"We're talking about a 25-year history here, not just the last two or three years."
The result of his efforts, and the efforts of others, has been the establishment of about 200 Canadian firms in the region, employing an average of about eight to 10 workers each, he said, creating an annual economic impact of about $1.6 billion.
"These numbers speak for themselves," he said.
Mark L. Barie, owner of Crossborder Development Corp. in Rouses Point, a firm that helps attract businesses to the area, said Owens has been key in helping lure Canadian businesses to the area.
"Bill was in the trenches of economic development, and he was going with us to Canada 25 years ago before anybody else was doing it," Barie said.