Biography - Bill Owens

The Honorable Bill Owens
U.S. Representative, NY-21

Congressman Bill Owens has represented New York’s 21st Congressional District since November of 2009.  As the Representative for the second largest congressional district east of the Mississippi, which includes 12 ports of entry and over 180 miles of the US-Canada border, Bill is working with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help create jobs and economic opportunity for hardworking New York families through many US-Canada Beyond the Border-related activities.

Bill has made his home in the North Country of New York for over thirty years, after graduating from law school and completing his service with U.S. Air Force as a Captain at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base, a facility that he later helped to redevelop as a civilian airport and industrial complex. Throughout his career, Bill has worked closely with his community to help promote economic development. As Managing Partner at the Stafford, Owens law firm, Bill specialized in business and tax law. With the skills he learned as an attorney and businessman, Bill joined other community leaders in helping to encourage the expansion of Canadian businesses into the North Country. In all, Bill helped create over 2,000 jobs for his community.

As a Member of Congress, Bill is working to continue those efforts and help communities build a successful plan for economic development that leverages opportunities to enhance tourism, trade, and investment between the United States and Canada. Many features of this plan are also action items within the Beyond the Border initiative.

As the Chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, Bill hosts events to highlight issues of common concern for northern border communities and leads advocacy for legislation that advances US-Canada economic relations and supports business development and job creation. For example, in the 113th Congress, Rep. Owens introduced a bill to create public-private partnerships to facilitate greater investment in port of entry infrastructure, and co-sponsored legislation to ease customs thresholds for cross-border shipments to increase trade and commerce. In September 2014, Congressman Owens spoke at the Texas-Chihuahua-New Mexico Regional Economic Competitiveness Forum, offering his expertise on effective border management policy and the benefits of deepening economic integration across North America. Rep. Owens also recently led a discussion on border trade facilitation during the 2014 US-Canada Inter-Parliamentary Group held in Ottawa. He is the author of an article in the Canada-United States Law Journal entitled “Beyond the Border: A New Chapter in North American Trade.”

Bill is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Homeland Security, which is responsible for directing funding to the Department of Homeland Security and its important mission of providing border security that also facilitates the legitimate movement of goods and people. He actively monitors border wait times, clearance processes, and the efficiency and effectiveness of border operations across NY-21.