Republican congressional candidate Elise Stefanik, in her first policy statement of the campaign, on Wednesday criticized U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, for voting against Republican-backed budget bills regarding the federal government shut down.
“Congressman Owens had four opportunities to set aside politics and vote to fund the government. He chose not to at the expense of hard working families in the North Country,” Stefanik said in a telephone interview, following up on a press release she issued.
(Stefanik said the four votes she was referring to were HJ Resolution 59, HJ Resolution 71, HJ Resolution 366, and HJ Resolution 368.)
But she repeatedly would not say whether she would have voted for the same four bills, if she was in Congress.
“Listen, I’m frustrated with Congress as a whole right now. I think they have shirked their responsibilities to represent the hardworking families in each of their districts,” she said. “If I were a member of Congress, I would put forth my own ideas and try to be part of the solution instead of playing political games and pointing fingers like Congressman Bill Owens.”
Stefanik reiterated that “all of Congress” is to blame for the shutdown.
“The fact that we are having a budget discussion for a short-term continuing resolution shows how dysfunctional Washington is. We need to have a long-term budget strategy to get our spending under control,” she said.
Stefanik, a businesswoman from Willsboro and former Republican policy advisor, is one of two candidates seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Owens in 2014.
The other candidate is Joe Gilbert, a tea party leader and retired Army major from St. Lawrence County.
Gilbert did not return voice mail messages The Post-Star left Tuesday and Wednesday seeking comment.