PLATTSBURGH — Congressman Bill Owens says politicians need to change their way of thinking if more positive results are to occur in government.
“If I am re-elected we have to begin the process of talking about the facts — and not ideology,” Owens (D-Plattsburgh) told a crowd at the North Country Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Plattsburgh on Friday.
“When you talk about the facts, sometimes you find out you are wrong ... but you have to have the intellectual capacity to (accept) that... That’s not something we do well, and that is not something the public accepts very well.”
Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh, is seeking re-election in the 21st District, which covers 12 counties from Lake Ontario in the west to Lake Champlain in the east.
He is challenged by Republican Matt Doheny, an investor from Watertown who is also on the Conservative and Independence party lines. Owens is also on the Working Families Party ticket.
Donald Hassig of St. Lawrence County is also running as the Green Party candidate, but he lags far behind in any polls.
Owens spent a portion of his breakfast talk Friday speaking about the need to work in a bipartisan fashion in order to make improvements in government. He noted that he votes about 35 percent of the time with Republicans, and that he and Republican Chris Gibson of New York’s 19th District and Vermont’s Democratic Congressman Peter Welch, voted together most of the time on the House Agriculture Committee this year.
“The message was clear that we voted for our constituents and not the party, and that is something I hope to do more of,” Owens said.
In a separate interview, Doheny said Owens talks a good game but always sides with his party when it matters.