To the editor:
I had the honor and privilege to represent many of your readers when I served in Congress.
To be a good congressman, I figured there was only one way to do it: I could never stop learning about the district and my constituents.
I averaged about 1,000 miles of driving every week - usually Thursday to Monday - in a district larger than nine states.
I worked hard - and frankly, I never expected anyone to keep up that pace. Then I met Matt Doheny.
In Matt, I see the same energy and great enthusiasm for the job as I once had. He's a road warrior; wherever two or more people are gathered, you're likely to find him.
Matt's a bright guy, certainly, and I think his experience in business can be put to great use in Washington. But he's also the kind of guy you'd enjoy talking with - a sharp wit and full of stories about growing up on the St. Lawrence River. This kind of friendly demeanor is exactly what's needed to build consensus and get things done in Washington.
There's a lot of cynicism about Congress. People say things like, "It doesn't matter who represents me. One person can't make a difference."
Trust me: That just isn't the case!
One winter morning in 1984, I - as a freshman member of the House Armed Services Committee - listened as the secretary of the Army and the chief of staff spoke of a new "high priority": the creation of light infantry divisions.
I asked General Wickham and Secretary Marsh a few subtle questions after the hearing: Where would these divisions be based? When - and how - would such decisions be made? I later figured out that Fort Drum was not the Army's first choice, at least coming out of the box. But none of their responses closed the door to what I had in mind.
I knew I had to lead the effort that would convince the Army to base its new division at Fort Drum. We assembled a first-class team of community and government leaders in the North Country - great thinkers I had come to admire since serving in the state Assembly and in Congress - as well as my contacts in Washington and Albany.
Our full-court press paid off handsomely. At high noon on Sept. 11, 1984, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger called to tell me he would be announcing that Fort Drum would be the home of the Army's new light infantry division.
I share this story because I'd hate to see our area pass on the opportunity to have Matt Doheny leading their team and helping to create the jobs that are desperately needed. I am not shy in saying: Matt Doheny has much greater experience than I had. His energy and enthusiasm will make it all work.
I strongly urge you to vote for Matt on Nov. 6.
In closing, may I say, God bless my old district and its constituents, and may God bless America.
Represented the North Country's congressional district from 1981 to 1993