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August Recess over for Congress
TROY-- The August recess, meant to develop closer relationships between federal lawmakers and voters, is over and now it's time to head back to DC.
Republican leadership on the federal level built in more "district days" this congressional session so representatives could spend more meeting with constituents and taxpayers. The August recess stretched from August 2nd to the 31st.
During that time Representative Paul Tonko, D- Amsterdam, had 111 events scheduled. Tonko attended 15 picnics or luncheons, hosted 15 meetings with constituents or business groups, attended five fundraisers and three town hall meetings.
Tonko's schedule did not show vacation time taken during August.
"There hasn't been a moment of rest it has been 24/7 being in the district, joining people at certain events," Tonko said. "But certainly we had many substantive meetings."
Representative Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, had a much smaller public schedule than his colleague Paul Tonko. Owens' staff says they attribute the fewer events attended to the rural district. Owens' schedule showed in August he attended 29 public events and hosted 24 constituent meetings. Owens also attended two town hall events and six "political" events, his schedule showed.
Congressman Chris Gibson, R- Kinderhook, attended 122 events during his August recess. Gibson's schedule consisted of 44 scheduled meetings with constituents, the most of the three congressman. However, unlike Tonko and Owens, Gibson went on vacation for three days with his family to Long Island, and spent one "family day" in Kinderhook.
Most recently Gibson was in Troy stuffing backpacks for kids headed back to school.
Despite the summer recess being booked early in the year by congressional leadership, both Tonko and Gibson believe members of the house should be in Washington dealing with the "issues" that face the country.
"There is unfinished business in Washington and I suggested when we were leaving for this district work period that we stay and finish that," Tonko said Friday.