Add Kellie Greene to the mix of candidates seeking to defeat U.S. Rep. Bill Owens in the upcoming congressional election.
The self-described staunch constitutional conservative from Sackets Harbor says she's been sitting on the sidelines long enough and is ready to make a go of it.
"I'm just frankly tired of what's going on in Washington, D.C.," Green told the Enterprise. "It seems like no matter which election cycle we go through, we get more of the same. We get a lot of empty promises. We get people who go, we think they're good people, and then they get there and it's politics as usual. And they end up getting nothing done, and now look where we are."
Greene formally announced her candidacy during an event Wednesday night at the Ramada Inn in Watertown. She plans to challenge Watertown businessman Matt Doheny, a former Wall Street financier, for the Republican and Conservative party lines. A primary has been set for June 26.
"We have record deficits, we are out of control (with) spending, and we have an economy the last time I checked wasn't getting much better, at least not for me and the people that I know," Greene said.
Green, 44, was born in Oswego and attended high school there. She has degrees from Bay Path College in Massachusetts, Syracuse University and the Rochester Institute of Technology, and is currently wrapping up studies online at Fuller Theological Seminary, which has campuses in California and Arizona.
Green is against abortion and gay marriage. She said she is the "true, principled conservative" in the congressional race and that she views Doheny as more moderate.
"I don't mean that as a disrespect to him; I just see him, based on his answers and how he has run in the past, as being more of a moderate," Greene said. "If somebody is looking for a true conservative who will follow the Constitution and want to restore constitutional principles and who is staunchly conservative on fiscal issues and on social issues, than I am absolutely that person across the board."
Greene has 20 years of work experience in international shipping, logistics and global trade. She has been attached to several different companies as an independent contractor, most recently with Graham Global Logistics out of Rochester.
The big issues in this race, Greene said, are the economy, jobs, debt and deficit, and national security.
She said it's not the government's responsibility to create jobs.
"I know we like to think that it is," Greene said, "but the role of government should be to create the right economic environment to create jobs."
Greene said a reduction of corporate taxes and government regulations would immediately spur job growth and provide a shot in the arm for a stagnant economy.
Green said the country's trade policies work against economic growth. She said she agrees with the idea of free trade but believes that in the real world, there's no such thing.
"So the best we can hope for is having a fair trade situation," Greene said. "And we have to work within what works for us in order to set those trade policies to attract businesses to come here and keep businesses from leaving in the first place. And those are things that haven't been looked at too closely in the last several years."
Within the district, Greene said her two biggest concerns are border policy and the future of Fort Drum.
Greene said she's "extraordinarily passionate" about border issues. She said working abroad and having lived on the southern border in Arizona makes her uniquely qualified to tackle border policy.
"Our northern border, as a whole, not just in New York but the entire northern border, has an incredible problem with Ecstasy coming into the United States," she said. "Seizures on our northern border are eight times greater with Ecstasy than they are on our southern border. Obviously we have a different drug of choice coming across the Canadian border, but it is, nonetheless, a big issue."
Border security needs to be tightened up, Greene said. She said it's too easy to enter the U.S. through Canada.
"I met a gentleman on the airplane a couple of weeks ago when I was traveling on business, from Canada, and he was sitting next to me and said, 'Oh, I never go through border crossings; it's too much of a hassle. There's lots of back ways into the United States,'" Greene said. "That was a little bit alarming to me. Here's this man, sitting on an airplane, who never went through a border crossing."
Greene said she understands the need to keep goods and people flowing across the Canadian border, but added that government's number-one priority is protecting its people.
The idea of a Base Realignment and Closure procedure, floated by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week, bothered Greene.
She said a lot of taxpayer money has been invested in the Fort Drum Army base, and there's a proud military history in the North Country.
"I think we have some serious strategic arguments that we can make for why Fort Drum shouldn't even be on that list to begin with and to fight vigorously to make sure it's not," Greene said. "It would be wasteful, frankly, and stupid for the government, after spending all of the money that they have poured into this in building it up, to close it."
Greene added that the North Country has four seasons, which makes Fort Drum a good location for training troops for conditions all over the world, not just for the Army but other branches of the military.
Greene said she hopes to tap into voter dissatisfaction by courting moderate Democrats who aren't happy with Owens.
"You know, they're not all that different from us (conservatives)," Greene said. "They have the same goals right now - and the same concerns, that we as a country are going in the wrong direction. And they're frustrated, and they want somebody they can trust. That is what I hear over and over. Someone they know will listen to them and talk to them, and even if they disagree with them will explain to them why they're making a decision that is different than them instead of just ignoring them."
Doheny declined to comment on Greene's congressional bid. Owens spokesman Sean Magers said the congressman "appreciates that so many constituents are involved in the political process, and he looks forward to a civil and healthy discussion on the issues that will move the region forward and ultimately put New Yorkers back to work."