U.S. Rep. Bill Owens announced today that he will not seek re-election this fall.
The Democrat from Plattsburgh has represented the North Country in the House of Representatives since 2009, when he won a special election after Rep. John McHugh was chosen as Army secretary by President Barack Obama.
Owens issued the following statement around noon Tuesday:
"After careful thought and consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election for the 21st Congressional District this November. I have enjoyed the opportunity to travel the district, meeting and serving the families and business owners of this vast community. It has truly been a privilege to serve, and I plan on continuing to work for a brighter future for the region.
"My appreciation for the support of my wife, children, grandchildren and close friends cannot be sufficiently expressed in words. There are others - too numerous to list - to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. The remainder of my term will be spent in much the same way as the previous four years: assisting constituents with their individual concerns, continuing to focus on passing a Farm Bill, helping to create jobs in our communities, working for our troops and veterans, keeping the northern border secure and fluid and being a voice in Congress for bipartisanship, as well as fact-based decision making. You can count on me to work with and for you over the remainder of my term.
"It is time for me to undertake new endeavors and spend more time with my family. Even though I will not seek re-election, it is my goal that the next phase of my life will continue to focus on helping to improve the lives of all New Yorkers, primarily through job creation and economic development.
"Thank you for letting me serve you since November 2009."
Owens' 21st Congressional District includes the entire North Country. Before a 2012 redistricting he served the 23rd District, which did not include a chunk of the eastern North Country and did include more on the west side, including Oswego.
North Country Republican Party leaders have been meeting lately to discuss whom to endorse in the November election for Owens' job. Three potential GOP candidates - Joseph M. Gilbert of DeKalb Junction, Michael F. Ring of Adams Center and Elise M. Stefanik of Willsboro - were be interviewed by county Republican committees across the district, including by the Franklin County Republican Committee today.