Owens’ opponents weigh in on government shutdown

Three candidates challenging U.S. Rep. Bill Owens for his seat in next year’s congressional race have weighed in on the recent government shutdown.

Republicans Joseph Gilbert of De Kalb Junction and Elise Stefanik of Willsboro, and Green Party candidate Donald Hassig of Colton have made statements denouncing the federal government for the move and offering different solutions. The candidates’ responses are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Gilbert has commented on the shutdown extensively on his Facebook page. He said Democrats caused it “through their outright refusal to negotiate on ANY issue involving Obamacare.

“The democrats, and my opponent Bill Owens, are digging their heels in and will defend Obamacare to the end,” Gilbert wrote Tuesday. “The Affordable Care Act is so wonderful that the Democrats will sacrifice all to make sure that you and your family is stuck with it, but they refuse to be subject to it themselves. What hypocrisy!

“When I am in Washington, I will NEVER vote for a bill that I haven’t had the opportunity to (read) – and you haven’t had the opportunity to read too – and that ALL citizens are not subject to. no special treatment, no protected classes. If its good enough for you, its good enough for Congress.”

Hassig issued a press release that said “great joy welled up in my heart” when he learned about the shutdown because it is an opportunity for Americans to change their government.

“Now is the time for the good American people to step in and bring an end to the partisan nonsense that has driven our country down to such a low point,” he wrote. “I call for new national elections now, elections in which we will choose new leaders for every elected office: the Presidency, Congress and the Judiciary.”

Hassig went on to say publicly financed federal elections would weed out corruption in U.S. politics.

“Those who are elected in the post-government shutdown election will set about raising government up onto a high plane that is far above corporate influence,” Hassig wrote. “We will have our good government back, the one that the corporations stole from us. Hurrah for the dysfunctional government shutdown!”

Stefanik slammed both Democrats and Republicans for being involved in “political brinkmanship.

“If Congress can’t get the work done we send them to do, then they shouldn’t get paid – especially if the government shuts down,” Stefanik said. “If I were in Congress, I would forgo my pay and call on Congressman Owens to do the same.”

Stefanik said Owens is busy pointing fingers at Republicans to gain political points instead of being a part of the solution.

“Congressman Owens had four opportunities to put politics aside and vote to fund the government while delaying Obamacare for hardworking families in the 21st Congressional District and repealing the medical device tax,” Stefanik said, referring to Republican proposals that failed in Congress. “Instead, he put his political party before the people of this district and voted to shut down the government. Laws passed by Congress – like Obamacare that Congressman Owens voted for on his first day after he was sworn into office – should apply to everyone. No special Obamacare exemptions for members of Congress, and no picking and choosing who a law applies to and who it does not.”

Contact Shaun Kittle at 891-2600 ext. 25 or skittle@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.