By JOE LoTEMPLIO
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The North Country’s two congressmen were officially sworn in as part of the 113th Congress.
Bill Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh, serves the newly created 21st District, and Chris Gibson, a Republican from Kinderhook, joined the new 19th District with the ceremony on Thursday.
“It is an honor to retain the privilege to serve New York state in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Gibson said in a statement. “As it has been since the day I was first elected, my priority is serving my constituents — here in Washington and across our district.
“New Yorkers can know that they can count on our office to always assist them in any matter related to the federal government and that I will put their interests first before every vote.”
Gibson defeated Democrat Julien Schreibman in the election last November. His district includes part of Essex County.
“To be certain, there is much to be done. Most immediately, we must address our country’s future fiscal solvency and enact policies that grow our economy and help hardworking Americans. This includes comprehensive tax reform and setting sustainable spending levels for the years to come.
“We also must pass into law a full five-year farm bill that gives certainty to our family farms and allows them to remain a vibrant part of our local communities.
“Close to home, I plan to continue to work on issues like Lyme disease, expanding access to broadband and ensuring our veterans have the services and benefits they need — particularly during their transition to civilian life,” Gibson said.
NEW OWENS OFFICE
Owens defeated Republican Matt Doheny in the November election to retain his seat.
The 21st District covers 12 counties, from Lake Ontario in the west to Lake Champlain in the east, including Clinton, Essex and Franklin.
“I am excited to return to Congress in service to New York and hopeful for what we can accomplish in the months ahead,” he said in a news release.
“Our congressional district spans over 16,000 square miles of New York state. However, throughout the district, the issues remain very much the same: creating jobs, building an environment where small businesses and family farmers can get ahead and helping New York take advantage of every opportunity to grow the local economy.”
In addition to existing offices in Plattsburgh and Watertown, Owens said he would soon open one in Glens Falls.
“I will continue to travel the district and stay in touch so I can better represent the district in Washington,” he said.
“In addition, I encourage residents of the 21st District to let me know when they encounter problems with the federal government or want to share ideas for how we can better our community. My door is always open.”
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