Owens: Job creation among chief concerns

However, healing the economy will take time, said Owens.

"After World War II, the debt to [gross domestic product] ratio was 121 percent. It took us 20 years to get it down to 40 percent. It took us another 30 years to get it down to a surplus, which occurred at the end of the Clinton administration - the first time that occurred since the end of World War II," said Owens. "There is tremendous difficulty in this process."

During the remainder of the open forum, Owens addressed issues including immigration reform, health care and corporate bailouts, hearing concerns and viewpoints from several constituents. The dialogue opened that day is what will help move the Congressional district and the nation in the right direction, said Owens.

"I think we got people really engaged in the debate, which was what I really wanted to do," the congressman said following the forum. "Now, what I'm hoping is people will think about this over the next couple of days or weeks, that they'll get back to us with some good suggestions as to what we can do."

Owens said the tone of the discussion was "very civil, even when people clearly didn't agree with me or other members of the audience." He also noted he would have liked to have heard from representatives of the Upstate New York Tea Party, an organization whose mission is "to advocate for reduced government spending, lower taxes, and less government." The group has been publicly critical of Owens' stance on issues, including the War on Deb Act, which UNYTEA chairman Mark L. Barie has previously called " a cynical attempt to fool North Country voters in to thinking that he is a fiscal conservative."

Owens said though the group has alleged he has not made himself publicly available enough, he disagreed.

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