PLATTSBURGH- Congressman Bill Owens spoke to Clinton County residents during a town hall forum at Clinton County Community College April 20.
The appearance was the second live town hall forum this month for Owens, New York's 23rd Congressional District representative.
Owens discussed political issues concerning job creation and economic development and stressed the importance of open communication.
"It's important to come together to find solutions to problems," said Owens.
Local residents like John Sylvestry, Bob Mantafusco, and Jerry Bates raised questions concerning small business, elderly care, overseas employment, and agricultural regulations.
Peru resident John Hart expressed frustration at the treatment of veterans and benefit bureaucracy.
"Can't we streamline this thing," Hart asked in exasperation.
Owens sympathized with Hart's plight, noting "specialists are always in larger communities."
In response to John Sylvesty's inquiry concerning the creation and maintenance of small business, Owens maintened his "focus on getting rid of meaningless regulations," and referenced audience members to his Web site.
Owens was met with applause when he advocated the elimination of private funding for elections.
"In my view having been through it two times, the only way to solve that problem [elected official bias], is by having public funding," noted Owens.
The discussion met some friction when questions concerning foreign oil drilling were raised, during which Beblanski intervened citing a shortness of time.
Throughout, however, Owens advocated open discourse, and encouraged listeners to contact him with information or inquiries.
"There is a silent majority out there-and we need to hear from these people," stressed Owens.
Mary Weinstein is a correpsondent for Denton Publications.She may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.