ELIZABETHTOWN — The 12 county Republican leaders of the 21st New York Congressional District have chosen Willsboro resident Elise Stefanik as their candidate.
All but one committee chairperson met in Elizabethtown on Friday to discuss who they would endorse for the seat held by Congressman Bill Owens, who is not seeking re-election in November.
Stefanik was present, along with two additional candidates looking for GOP endorsement: Mike Ring of Adams Center in Jefferson County and Joe Gilbert of Canton in St. Lawrence County.
The Willsboro woman earned more than 87 percent of the committee’s weighted vote.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the support,” she said as she accepted the nomination.
Ronald Jackson, regional vice chairman of the Republicans’ 21st District Committee, said petitions for the nomination have to be filed by March 4, in time for the June primary election.
‘NEED NEW LEADERS’
Stefanik told the Press-Republican that she would approach the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., with “fresh energy.
“Washington is clearly broken,” she said. “We need new leaders to help fix things.”
She has centered her campaign on experience as a small-business owner, focused on public service.
“My family owns a small plywood distribution business in Albany County,” she said.
“I talk to many different business owners every day, and I feel for the economy here. I hear firsthand the economic challenges that small businesses are facing.”
In accepting the nomination, she commended Owens’s work in Congress, although, she said, they don’t share similar views.
She outlined a political platform focused on growing small businesses with an aim to rewrite regulations to support that growth.
Stefanik said creating jobs and common-sense health-care reform are key components of work to be done in Washington.
She also named New York farms and Fort Drum as central concerns in her run for Congress.