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Stefanik makes campaign rounds in Westport

Elise Stefanik, left, speaks with Bessboro Builders owner Dick Sherman, right, during an open house campaign stop March 7.

Elise Stefanik, left, speaks with Bessboro Builders owner Dick Sherman, right, during an open house campaign stop March 7. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

—  Elise Stefanik continues to make the rounds of the 21st Congressional District, with a recent stop at Bessboro Builders in Westport.

Stefanik, who has worked in her family’s plywood business in Guilderland, said their company has supplied materials for the Dick Sherman-led company for many years.

While there, Stefanik collected signatures for her election petitions and talked about several hot-button issues, including the debate over minimum wage.

“Working in small business, we feel firsthand that raising the minimum wage would hurt,” Stefanik said. “Increasing the minimum wage forces small businesses to not be able to hire additional people. What needs to be done is to work to lower taxes and reduce the regulatory burdens that are facing small businesses.”

Another recent topic in the news has been the federal proposal to cut defense funding.

“This district includes Fort Drum, and I would be opposed to defense department cuts,” Stefanik said. “The defense department should not be targeted for budget cuts. We should not be balancing the budget on the backs of the troops and military families who have already sacrificed so much.”

The Willsboro-based Republican candidate also talked about the uniqueness of the 2012 race for the NY-21 federal Congressional District, which has seen an increase of candidates over the past weeks in three parties: Republican, Democratic and Green.

“Certainly Congressman Owens’ announcement that he would not be seeking re-election was a surprise,” Stefanik said. “It’s an example that there are no guarantees in politics. What has not changed is the reason I got into this race, which is to get new leadership into Washington and be a voice for North Country issues.”

Now preparing to face a primary challenge that now includes Watertown’s Matt Doheny, who ran and lost in a trio of hotly contested races in 2009, 2010 and 2012, Stefanik said there are key difference between the two.

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