hoff owens

Congressional candidate Douglas Hoffman (left) and Congressman Bill Owens

Congressional candidate Douglas Hoffman is criticizing Congressman Bill Owens for a New York City fundraiser.

Owens, an attorney, was slated to attend a fundraiser Tuesday morning at the Manhattan law firm of O'Dwyer and Bernstein.

The event was to be co-hosted by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Brian O'Dwyer, a partner in the law firm, which Hoffman describes as "politically connected."

Hoffman says the firm trumpets on its website its expertise in medical-malpractice and personal-injury law.

"Congressman Owens should do the right thing and cancel (the) fundraiser at O'Dwyer and Bernstein," Hoffman said in a news release.

"Bill Owens voted for Obama's health-care legislation and claims he wants to see health-care costs lowered, yet he goes to a fundraiser at a law firm that helps perpetuate the high cost of health care. That's cynical and wrong."

Hoffman, an accounting-firm owner from Saranac Lake, is seeking to run against Owens as a Republican. He is facing Matt Doheny, an investor from Watertown, in a Republican primary in September.

Hoffman ran against Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh, in last year's special election for the 23rd District as a Conservative Party candidate and lost a close race.

Hoffman said the cost of medical malpractice and litigation is a major contributor to the high cost of health care in the country.

"If Bill Owens really wanted to lower the cost of health care he would have voted against the Obama-Pelosi-Reid (Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) health-care legislation and for common-sense free-enterprise solutions, like tort reform, and doing away with interstate barriers in the purchase of health insurance," Hoffman said.

Both Owens and Doheny declined to comment on Hoffman's statement.

E-mail Joe LoTemplio at: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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