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Cortland/Ithaca

Rep. Bill Owens named to powerful House committee

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Rep. Bill Owens named to powerful House committee
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After a couple of tight election night victories, it's starting to look like North Country Congressman Bill Owens may have some breathing room. After only three years in office he's been named to one of the House's power committees and as our Brian Dwyer reports, it could mean big things for him and the 21st district.

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- To some, he's still considered the new guy.

For Bill Owens, three years was apparently enough to convince fellow Democrats he's ready for the big time. Owens named to the House Appropriations Committee, one of the Congress' most powerful because it controls every dollar the nation spends.

"I think it's a great honor that my caucus has appointed me," Owens said. "I think it shows confidence in my ability to look for the facts and make rational compromise based decisions on a variety of subjects."

An appointment typically reserved for those considered influential. It seemingly makes a statement that Owens will now have power to no longer have to fight and scrap to keep his seat in Congress.

"We hope that that's a part of the decision making process," Owens said. "Clearly I think that when you are given an honor like this, that you want to make sure you discharge it to the best of your ability."

One thing about Appropriations, members don't normally sit on other committees. Owens had to step down from the, North Country important, Armed Services Committee. He though, was named to the Appropriations sub-committees on both defense and homeland security. It's something Owens says can actually make his voice for Fort Drum louder.

"The ability to have that level of interaction with the Commanding General of Fort Drum coupled with my ability to sit in the room and have conversations about where defense dollars are going and how we should spend those, I think becomes a very important factor for Fort Drum, but really the whole district," Owens added.

A district that now has its very own setting at the money table.

Owens' first meeting with the appropriations committee is Wednesday.

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