Candidates for New York's 21 Congressional district are gearing up for party primaries. Republican Joe Gilbert is one of four Republicans gathering petitions around the district. Our Matt Jarchow sat down with Gilbert Friday to discuss his congressional campaign.
ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. -- Joe Gilbert has always called the North Country home.
After spending 24 years away in the army he says he wanted to come back for the people.
But when he did, he didn't recognize it anymore.
"The North Country I found when I returned was not the North Country that I had left," Gilbert said. "Losing jobs, unemployment, just a general depression economically, and it doesn't need to be this way."
Now he wants to be the one to change it.
Gilbert said the first step in doing so is getting government out of the way.
He said doing that will free the North Country's people and businesses to grow.
"They'll get it done, but they're just being hammered and hampered and leashed in by government programs, regulation, taxation," Gilbert said. "If we can lessen that, they'll take care of the rest."
Gilbert said government programs are making it too hard to start a business, citing the Affordable Care Act and increased minimum wages as examples.
He believes removing those programs will bring unemployment down and the economy up.
"The first job to create jobs is to fix the economy. And that is to eliminate the market distortions created by government. We are not one more government program away from prosperity."
Gilbert said fixing the national economy will in turn fix the North Country, and keep the district's largest employer strong.
"You can't expect a robust national defense and a safe and secure Fort Drum if our economy is going down the tube because you have to be able to pay for it," he said.
Gilbert admits its hard being a political underdog.
But he said he would rather lose and stand by his convictions than change them to win.
Joe Gilbert Full Interview
Albany/HV: Congressional candidate Joe Gilbert favors less government
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