JOHNSTOWN - Republican 21st Congressional District candidate Matt Doheny visited Eagle Chevrolet and Partners Pub on Monday in an effort to meet local business owners and drum up support in his bid to take the seat from Democrat Bill Owens.
Meeting in Partner's Pub on South William Street, Doheny talked to a crowd of around two dozen guests, many of them business owners or local government officials.
Speaking for roughly 15 minutes, Doheny said if elected he plans to try and help improve the infrastructure in Fulton County. Businesses and families would be more inclined to move into the area if government brings in more cell phone towers and improves roads.
Matthew Doheny, Republican candidate for the new 21st Congressional District, speaks Monday at Partners Pub in Johnstown.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Doheny said Fulton County would be important for the election, as it is new to the 21st congressional district after the redistricting earlier this year.
"We have all of Fulton County in one district, which is fantastic," Doheny said. "This congressional district is bigger than 10 states."
At one point, Hugh Carville, founder of Carville National Leather Corp., asked Doheny to clear up his stance on cuts to Medicare. Carville said Owens was trying to cause confusion. Doheny promised he would not vote to cut any money out of Medicare.
"My mom would chop my arm off if I did," Doheny joked to the crowd.
Doheny said Owens was weak on defense. According to Doheny, Owens voted for cuts totaling $500 billion to the national defense budget.
"That is going to hurt our military preparedness," Doheny said. "It's wrong for our national security."
Owens and Doheny both agree on the need for a new Farm Bill.
"We need a Farm Bill passed. We need to give our farmers certainty, an understanding that as we go forward we can [ensure them] that they can go ahead and plant," Doheny said
Doheny said that he has received "terrific" support from residents in the area so far. According to a poll from the Siena College Research Institute, though, Owens is leading Doheny 49 percent to 36 percent.
However, Doheny said the poll's results had less to do with voters' opinions and more to do with the day it was held.
"It's not true. The folks at Siena polled during the Democratic National Convention, which skewed the results significantly. I've been saying that this race is neck and neck, and our polling shows that," Doheny said.