Though people won't go to the polls until November 2014 to elect a representative in the North Country's 21st Congressional District, incumbent Bill Owens is already facing opposition.
Republican Elise Stefanik, 29, is traveling the region announcing plans to face off with Owens, D-Plattsburgh, in the sprawling district which includes Fulton, Warren and Washington counties and parts of Saratoga and Herkimer counties, as well as Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
Stefanik, of Willsboro, Essex County, said Friday she's getting an early start on her campaign.
"I think that's important in order to talk about my issues," Stafanik said. "I'm taking the time to travel around the district as much as possible."
Stefanik details on her campaign website, http://eliseforcongress.com, a variety of positions she's held in the past, including director of vice presidential debate preparation for one-time vice-presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. Before that, Stefanik served as policy director for the 2012 Republican national platform.
Other positions include director of communications for the Foreign Policy Initiative, which created Defending Defense, a coalition formed to warn about defense cuts. Stefanik also served as policy director for the presidential campaign of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
She served in the White House under President George W. Bush, both as a staff member for the Domestic Policy Council and in the chief of staff's office, according to the website.
Owens represented the former 23rd Congressional District starting from 2009-11. Redistricting changed the general district to the 21st, and Owens in 2012 ran for that seat, beating Republican-Conservative Matthew A. Doheny of Watertown.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Owens worked for more than 30 years for a law firm practicing business and tax law.
"I respect Elise Stefanik's commitment to public service," Owens said in a statement Friday. "As we get closer to the election next November, I look forward to having a spirited discussion of the issues that matter to our region. Until then, I will remain focused on serving Northern New Yorkers in Congress."