Fulton County

Tonko and Owens swing through Fulton County

On Friday, Dave Agee found himself the center of attention of two U.S. congressmen, and he took full

On Friday, Dave Agee found himself the center of attention of two U.S. congressmen, and he took full advantage of it.

Agee, president of AirJet Technologies, of 11 Forest St., was playing host to Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, of the 23rd Congressional District, and Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, of the 21st Congressional District. The congressmen also visited the Johnstown Senior Citizens Activities Center during their stop in Fulton County.

Agee told the congressmen that as a small business owner, he needs relief from “crippling” insurance costs.

“Liability insurance and health insurance are killing us. We need tort reform,” he said, explaining it would reduce the number of lawsuits that are filed, some of which are frivolous.

During their visit, the congressmen listened attentively to Agee’s concerns, and offered some comments but no immediate solutions. Still, Agee found the visit beneficial.

“It is important the congressmen see what is going on in the real world,” he said.

Sean Magers, spokesman for the Owens campaign, said Owens has visited about 150 small businesses in the 23rd District over the last two years, mainly to listen to the concerns of owners and workers.

“He talks to the local employers and listens to what the federal government should be and should not be doing to foster economic development,” he said.

Magers said the visits help Owens zero in on how federal policies, rules, regulations and laws are affecting local people, and how he might be able to fix those that are “onerous, overburdensome and unnecessary.”

Owens is expected to step up his visits to Fulton County as the general election draws closer, Magers said. It was Owens’ second visit to an area he does not currently represent, but one he would like to represent after the election. Come Jan. 1, Fulton County will become part of the newly drawn 21st Congressional District. The county currently is part of Tonko’s district.

Owens is running for the seat in the new district, while Tonko is running for the seat in the new 20th District. Tonko faces Republican Bob Dieterich in that race.

Owens faces Republican Matt Doheny and Green Party candidate Donald Hassig in a race political handicappers are saying is too close to call.

Doheny and Owens faced each other in 2010 when Owens sought re-election in the 23rd District. Owens won by about 2,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a full term in the North Country district in 138 years.

Tonko handily won re-election in 2010 and has strong name recognition in the area, having served the Capital Region for most of his political life. Matching up Tonko and Owens for a tour through the county helps Owens meet more people, Magers said.

“Tonko is well-known in the district,” he said.

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