JOHNSTOWN - Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Owens was in re-election campaign mode Monday, stopping at two city locations and meeting with current and possibly new constituents as he gears up for an election rematch with a former Wall Street financier.
Owens doesn't represent the city of Johnstown yet, but he would in January if he wins re-election this fall.
He stopped Monday at the Johnstown Public Library on South Market Street and Pioneer Window at the Johnstown Industrial Park.
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, left, talks with Deb Callery at the Johnstown Public Library on Monday.
The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
"It went very well," the Plattsburgh congressman said of the Pioneer Window visit. "I was very interested in the operation. They have many new contracts. We got a very good reception there."
Owens' 23rd Congressional District currently includes nine Fulton County towns and Hamilton County. Under federal redistricting, in January, his current district will become the new 21st District, which will include all of Fulton and Hamilton counties.
He faces a Nov. 6 general election challenge from Republican Matt Doheny, a Waterford-based businessman and former Wall Street financier. It will be a rematch from 2010.
Doheny also recently stopped in Johnstown to talk about his campaign efforts. He recently defeated Kellie A. Greene in a Republican primary. Doheny also will be on the Conservative ballot in November, and Owens will be on the Working Families ballot and Democratic line.
After his stops in Johnstown, Owens discussed his campaign. He said although he is able to get away once in a while to visit his constituents in New York state, his duties are still in Washington, D.C., with a Congress that probably will be in session until August.
Owens said he will continue to be on the campaign trail this summer.
He said his appeal, politically, is closer to the center than some candidates. He said he appeals to both "Rockefeller Republicans and Reagan Democrats."
"I'm very much around the middle," the congressman said.
His campaign Monday released a video and political message online titled "Who I Am."
"Over the next couple months, you'll hear a lot from my opponent and outside groups about who I am. There will be name calling and the usual election season nonsense," Owens wrote. "Before that starts, I thought you might want to hear a little bit about where I come from, what I stand for, and what I think this election is about."
He urged people to visit his website - billowensforcongress.com.
Owens on Monday first visited the Johnstown Public Library to meet with library officials, including Director Erica Wing. Library officials talked to him about the library.
Later in the morning, Owens met in the library basement with members of the not-for-profit Sacandaga Task Force for Senior Living. The Northville-based group is an independent council of private citizens interested in attracting or developing senior living spaces in the area.
The group's board president, James Conkling, told Owens this area of his district doesn't have many options for senior housing. He noted the group wants to build a facility in the Northville area.
"What we really need you to do is to try to get influence with the [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo administration and state government to get grant funds," Conkling told Owens.
David Henderson, executive director of the Fulton County Community Heritage Corp., told Owens his agency is working with the Sacandaga Task Force for Senior Living to create senior assisted-living housing in the area. He said there is a goal of eight to 12 units, but grant funding from the state isn't always available for small projects.
Owens suggested local officials group several small facilities in the county into one larger "aggregate" grant application.
"It seems unlikely the state will fund the small projects," Owens said. "They have limited resources."
Later in the afternoon, Owens visited the window manufacturing operation at Pioneer.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com