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Katko and opponent Deacon preview race ahead

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo

The candidates in the race for the 24th Congressional District are previewing some of what's in store for the campaign ahead. 

Shortly after basking in the success of her primary victory Tuesday night, Democratic candidate Colleen Deacon, a former staffer for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), quickly shifted to the general election.

"Tonight, we are celebrating a victory, but we must also put our heads down and get ready for the real challenge ahead," Deacon told the crowd after defeating her Democratic challengers, Syracuse lawyer Steve Williams and Syracuse University law professor Eric Kingson.

She said job creation and the economy are her number one priorities in the race and she faulted incumbent Republican Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) for not making the most of his time in office.

"When he ran his campaign [in 2014], he said his number-one priority would be to get jobs back to this region," Deacon said. "But in reality, he has done anything but focus on jobs for central New York."  

Deacon also chastised Katko for sticking with the Republican Party on a number of issues, like voting to defund Planned Parenthood and voting against bringing a bill to the House floor that would have banned people on the suspected terrorist watch list from purchasing guns. But Katko defended his record, including his leading role on passing a transportation bill last December.

"Interstate 81 is now properly funded and now, because of my efforts, it's considered a high-priority project," Katko said. "When they start building I-81, there's going to be a lot of jobs."

Katko noted that 13 of his bills that have passed the House had Democratic co-sponsors.

New York's 24th Congressional District covers all of Onondaga, Cayuga and Wayne Counties and part of Oswego County.