Democratic Representative Bill Owens will not be on the ballot this November. He's decided not to seek re-election in the 21st district, which encompasses much of the North Country from Lake Ontario to the Vermont border. A lawyer by trade, Owens was first elected in a special election in 2009 to fill the vacancy created by John McHugh's appointment to Secretary of the Army.
A year later, Owens narrowly won a three-way race against Republican Matt Doheny and Doug Hoffman. He's now serving the final year of his second full term. Here's an excerpt from Owens' statement:
"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.
"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."
Owens is considered a moderate in a district that did vote for President Obama both times. His retirement could factor in to the Democratic Party's hopes of gaining control of the House. Two other democrats have also said they won't run again. At the same time, four Republicans are also retiring.
Owens lives in Plattsburgh with his wife, where he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after law school. He served as Captain at the base there before building his law practice. He and his wife have three grown children and four grandchildren.