By NICK WOJTON
MEXICO, N.Y. — Congressman Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, met with 22nd Congressional District constituents from Eastern Oswego County on Thursday during an open door event in Mexico.
The event, held at the Mexico Town Hall, was one of approximately 60 the congressman has done in his district, and the second time he’s held an open door event in Mexico.
Hanna said that meet-and-greets with his constituents are always a good way to bring him back to his roots.
“What you realize is, if you go to Washington, it’s easy to do what they call ‘ go Washington,’ and lose touch with who you are, where you came from, and who you work for and their views,” Hanna said.
When meeting with constituents, Hanna said he gets a better sense of urgency and anxieties that people are struggling with.
“New York has a particularly difficult economic environment,” Hanna said. “I very seldom meet people whose expectations are being met by the economic environment.” John Byrne, one of the first constituents to meet with Hanna, said he came into the office building Thursday to discuss economic growth with the congressman.
Byrne, owner of Pople Ridge Farm in Mexico, proposed increasing the horse show industry in the area to boost the economy.
According to Byrne, the American Quarter Horse Congress Event in Columbus, Ohio, attracts several thousand people to Columbus a year and lasts three weeks.
The event’s website states the event brings in 650,000 each year and creates $180 million revenue to the central Ohio economy.
With the rural areas in the 24th District, Byrne believes a similar event in the county could also have positive influences.
“The hotels, restaurants and everything retail would benefit,” Byrne said.
In his district, Hanna said that the Utica-Rome and Binghamton areas are the two biggest metropolitan places, but everything else in between is rural, including his portion of Oswego County, a fact of which he’s aware.
” ( The district) is a very rural place. But there’s a lot going on here,” he said.
According to Hanna, people do have concerns about the loss of industry and ability to continue to call the district home.
“Young people get educated here. We have over 20 of the best college institutions up and down the thruway here. But kids can’t stay here and the opportunity isn’t here,” Hanna said.
To change this, Hanna said he’s been an advocate for the Port of Oswego Authority to help expand industry throughout the county.
According to Hanna, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act passed in September will create an increased importance with the port.
The Congressman said the reform and development act will increase the chances of the Port of Oswego to receive further funding in the future.
Click here to visit The Palladium-Times online.