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North Country Congress members' take on president's speech

Gibson pushes spending cuts; Owens supports president’s message

January 26, 2011
By NATHAN BROWN, Enterprise Staff Writer

U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson says Congress and the president will need to make some "tough choices immediately" when it comes to spending.

"We simply must do more with less, and reverse the trend of exploding deficits and national debt," Gibson, R-Kinderhook, said in a statement after President Barack Obama's annual State of the Union address Tuesday night. "Our fiscal security, and national security, hinges on the achievement of this goal and all Americans must be part of helping our country overcome this challenge."

Gibson's district includes much of the eastern part of the Tri-Lakes area, including Lake Placid and part of Saranac Lake. Gibson said the State of the Union's roots in the Constitution "underscore the strength of our nation," noting that many previous such addresses have been given in difficult times.

Article Photos

Members of New York’s congressional delegation, a mix of Democrats and Republicans, who sat together during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address pose that evening. From left are Reps. Tom Reed, R-Corning, Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, Ann Marie Buerkle, R-Syracuse, Chris Lee, R-Clarence, Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook and Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh. The ribbons are to support Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the Tucson shooting.
(Photo courtesty of Rep. Bill Owens’ office)

"Each time, we have met those challenges by working together as Americans," Gibson said. "We need more than rhetoric to solve the serious problems that are before us, but I remain hopeful that we can again come together to ensure our best days are still in front of us."

Obama devoted most of his hourlong speech to the economy and called for increased spending on education, transportation, research and technology, while cutting wasteful spending and eliminating earmarks.

Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, whose district includes Tupper Lake and most of Saranac Lake, told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican after the speech that he also supports more spending on "education, research and development and economic development." He said he would oppose the elimination of Essential Air Service funding, of which Plattsburgh International and Adirondack Regional airports are major beneficiaries, and said program cuts and elimination need to be balanced based on "expense versus reward."

Owens and Gibson sat together during the speech, along with a bipartisan group of other New York lawmakers - a break from the two parties' usually separate seating arrangements.

New York's two senators, Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, also sat alongside Republican senators. They both reacted positively to Obama's speech.

Gillibrand said Obama "laid out a bold vision for this Congress." She called last year's election, in which Republicans gained control of the House and picked up seats in the Senate "a mandate for action," rather than "for any one political party."

Gillibrand said she thinks Congress is capable of working together, citing the cooperation late last year to pass a bill providing health care to first responders to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"We need to continue the spirit of goodwill that led us to that victory," Gillibrand said.

Schumer said Obama had offered a "balanced approach that can garner bipartisan support," saying he thinks it makes sense to cut "wasteful and unnecessary" programs but also expand ones "that are needed to preserve the American dream."


Contact Nathan Brown at 891-2600 ext. 26 or



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