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Democrat Addie Russell will not close door on NY21 congressional seat but plans to stay in Assembly


WATERTOWN - Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, downplayed rumors that she will run for Congress during a Friday morning press conference at her district office in Watertown.

Mrs. Russell told reporters she has been contacted by many people encouraging her to run and, while flattered, said she was happy working in the Assembly and plans to seek another term there.

“I said that I would run for re-election in the New York State Assembly and that is what I plan to do,” she said.

Mrs. Russell’s name has been put forward by some political watchers as a potential successor to U.S. Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, who announced Tuesday that he would not be seeking re-election to New York’s 21st Congressional District seat this year.

Mr. Owens’s announcement caught many by surprise and has left the state’s Democratic Party with a significant void to fill after Mr. Owens won and subsequently defended his seat in a highly contested district with more enrolled Republican voters than Democratic voters.

Mrs. Russell said part of what may influence her decision is “how effective I will be as a part of the district I will represent.” She said that the Assembly’s structure and calendar allows her to work closely with the communities she serves and that she would want to be able to maintain the same level of commitment if she were elected to Congress.

She said that she was confident the Democratic Party would put forward a strong candidate but that she would not completely rule out a congressional run.

She thanked Mr. Owens for his service and characterized him as someone who worked in Washington during one of its most contentious periods and served the north country with “dignity and respect, a common-sense approach and care and concern.”

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