Owens pays visit to Whallonsburg

Owens said his plan would be more favorable to preserving income for the middle class, a necessary step to increasing demand.

"We need to do something about the Chinese currency," he added, noting an effort to allow more tariffs for Chinese goods, thereby raising the value of Chinese money in comparison to the U.S. dollar. Owens claimed such a program could restore as many as 500,000 American jobs, despite potnetially raising the cost of some goods to American consumers.

In the meantime, Owens said, the U.S. should focus more on an investment in infrastructure, especially clean energy projects like one he's supported for a biomass power plant to supply energy to the Fort Drum Army Base near Watertown.

That project, he said, could add as many as 100 permanent jobs to the area.

"It also takes Fort Drum off the grid," he said, "and from a national security perspective, that's very important."

Other topics included the future of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, to which Owens said he favors the assessment of military leaders to wait until early 2011 to reassess the need for continued presence there.

Essex resident Katherine Preston asked Owens if, as a member of the House Agriculture Committee, he would support further development of a food distribution network that would favor local farms.

"It's interesting, because nobody ever talks about farming as a national security issue," Owens said in response. "The control of our food supply is extremely important."

Owens said leaders of the Agriculture Committee are working to have a new farm bill ready for consideration in 2011, well in advance of 2012 when the current farm bill is set to expire.

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