Owens Expects Bipartisanship, Job Talk During State of the Union
Rep. Bill Owens doesn't know what President Obama will say during tonight's State of the Union address, but he expects it will include a continued call for bipartisanship.
"Clearly I'm hoping he's going to announce programs that create jobs and help us reduce the debt and deficit," he said. "(And) I think he's going to come forward with a more centrist agenda, one that focuses on compromise in an attempt to resolve difficult issues."
In an op-ed penned this week, the congressman said he was "disappointed" that the show of cooperation among Republicans and Democrats in ending 2010 "quickly reverted to the cynical tone that has plagued Washington in recent years."
"When you revert, as our friends on the other side of the aisle did, to strictly a 'message' approach to legislation, that's very problematic," he said Monday. "We have enough complex issues to deal with that we don't need to send messages. We need to be doing things that are resolving problems."
Following the lead of Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Owens will sit tonight with five Republicans and two fellow Democrats during the speech. The contingent includes New York Reps. Anne Marie Buerkle, Chris Gibson, Richard Hanna, Christopher Higgins, Chris Lee, Tom Reed and Paul Tonko.
"It's important for us to get to know one another as people," Owens said. "It's much easier to work together when you have some sense of the person. And I think it's more difficult to 'message' something when you know you're going to have a conversation with somebody."
The congressman added: "I'm hoping this leases to a discussion of significant issues down the road - that they'll feel free to call me and say, 'Hey, we have this idea. Do you think you could support this idea?'"
The president's speech will air at 9 p.m. tonight on WWNY-TV 7 as well as our sister station, Fox 28.
Saturday, May 25, 2013, Watertown, NY