Payne Horning

Reporter, Oswego

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.

Ways to Connect

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow took office, city residents had seen four consecutive tax increases and then a major spike in their sewer and water rates to help pay for a federally mandated sewer and water separation project. And things were about to get worse as a contract that provided Oswego with $1 million in revenue each year was coming to an end.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Now that Democrats control the New York State Senate and Assembly, party leaders and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo have promised to push forward a progressive agenda. And the progressive groups that helped elect that majority say they are going to ensure that promise was more than just campaign rhetoric.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Many communities in central New York are reaping the benefits of the region's top-place prize at the state's annual regional economic development awards. That includes Oswego and Fulton where plans that have been in the works for years are finally receiving state funding.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) says there are no clean hands in the fight that has caused the federal government to shut down.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is investing $3.5 million to help Utica further its efforts to reduce lead hazards in the city.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Thirty-three village and town executives in Onondaga County wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials last week urging them to keep high-speed access along the I-81 corridor in Syracuse. The local officials say rebuilding the viaduct or replacing it with a tunnel are both better options than the community grid for which many in Syracuse are advocating.

City of Oswego

After two years of research and field testing, the Oswego Police Department is ready to implement body cameras into its operation.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says it was a priority he set out when he assumed office in 2016 after hearing several national stories about police aggression and brutality. Although Barlow says there have been no incidents during his tenure where the absence of these body cameras has presented an issue, he says it's important to have this technology to keep both police officers and city residents who encounter them safe.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

While the Democrats took control of the state senate, central New York’s 50th State Senate seat will most likely be staying in Republican hands. Bob Antonacci has about a 3,000 vote lead over Democrat John Mannion in the race for the seat left vacant by longtime State Sen. John DeFransisco, who is retiring. But Mannion has yet to concede as he waits for absentee ballots to be counted. 

Antonocci admits it would have been easier to be a freshman lawmaker had his party retained control of the Senate.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

24th District Republican Congressman John Katko wasn’t knocked over by the “blue wave” that saw Democrats take control of the House in yesterday’s election. But his re-election does mean he will be in the minority when he returns to Washington.

Katko says it will be a "new adventure," but promised to deal with the partisanship in Washington in a bipartisan way.

"I am putting up with all this crap in Washington because I’m trying to say there is a way to get along with the other side,” Katko said. “And I’m going to keep working on that as long as I’m in Congress.”

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed its first tax cut in 20 years last night. The 2019 budget reduces property taxes by 2.4 percent without dipping into the city’s fund balance.

Council President Robert Corradino said it is the result of fiscal responsibility on the part of the council and Mayor Billy Barlow. But he said an increase in sales tax revenue from new businesses and more visitors to Oswego is also playing a part.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

On a listening tour through central New York this weekend, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) says he heard from his constituents about a range of local issues, and about the drama unfolding in Washington. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) held an expensive fundraiser with President Donald Trump in Utica last week, her Democratic opponent Anthony Brindisi threw a rival fundraiser across town. But his goal was more about message than money.

John O’Brien

The death of Gary Thibodeau, the man convicted of kidnapping Heidi Allen from a New Haven convenience store in 1994, means the end of his attempts to get a new trial in the case, but his passing is not providing closure to either side.

Thibodeau's attorney, Federal Public Defender Lisa Peebles, says while she loves most of the clients she represents, she had a special relationship with Gary.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

After signing the National Defense Authorization Act into law at the Fort Drum Military Base in Watertown Monday, President Donald Trump visited Utica - the first sitting president to do so in 70 years. He was there to headline a fundraiser for Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford). 

Trump supporters chanted his name and waved American flags as his motorcade arrived at the Hotel Utica. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is presenting his administration's first proposed tax cut tonight to the city's common council. Barlow says if passed, it would be the first tax cut for the city's residents in 20 years. 

Brindisi/Tenney campaigns

The rising cost of health care has become a major point of contention in this year's race for the 22nd Congressional District, including how the candidates have voted on the issue in the past.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

After U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry came to Oswego County last week to praise the state's support of nuclear power plants, several environmental groups and New York politicians sent a letter to state leaders saying the opposite.

Jason Smith / WRVO News (file photo)

In addition to tax cuts, the recently passed federal tax overhaul includes a measure to encourage the private industry to invest in low-wealth areas. The program offers tax discounts and other incentives for people to put their profits from stocks and other holdings to work in so-called Opportunity Zones. Those resources can then be invested in businesses and other economic development projects in rural and urban districts that are plagued by high levels of poverty.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Trump administration's plans to provide direct support to dairy farms as part of a $12 billion package to offset the impacts of its trade policies is welcome news to many in New York, which is the third-highest milk producing state in the country. But with no end in sight to sustained low milk prices and oversupply in the industry, some are worried about the long-term impact to rural regions like the North Country.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Democratic candidate for Congress, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), finished his town hall tour of the 22nd District over the weekend. During Brindisi's hour-long Q&A with a crowd of about 25 in Oswego County Sunday, he pledged to work for his district rather than his party, saying Congress needs independent thinkers to achieve progress.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Sitting on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk is a bill that would change how the state classifies the Oswego River and Lake Neatahwanta in Fulton.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) is still negotiating with property owners in downtown Utica who have not yet sold their land for the nonprofit's new $480 million hospital. Officials with the project say taking those properties through the use of eminent domain is a last resort, but they are willing to if necessary. And some of the property owners trying to stop the project are counting on it.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Watertown's mayor and city council announced that they had hired Rick Finn as the new city manager, they cited his experience as one of the reasons for his selection. Finn has been a city manager in five municipalities. But some of his experiences in those jobs are raising some concerns.

WRVO News (file photo)

Democrats are optimistic about their chances of flipping New York's 22nd Congressional District this fall. Election analysts consider Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the nation, and her opponent is raising more money than she is. Some think the Republican's sometimes divisive rhetoric may be a determining factor in her reelection bid.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Watertown's $10 million downtown revitalization can move forward now that state officials have decided how the city can spend the prize money

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Watertown City Council has hired Rick Finn as its next city manager. The New York native has served as a city manager for five other municipalities, most recently in Bay City, Michigan. 

The SUNY Brockport graduate has ties to Watertown. His son was stationed at the Fort Drum Military Base three years ago.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Ivanka Trump, daughter and advisor to President Donald Trump, highlighted the benefits of Republicans’ tax law while in Tully Monday at the Suit-Kote paving company. Trump said six million Americans across the country have directly benefited from the tax plan through wage increases or bonuses.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Rising prescription drug costs continue to plague Americans, an issue that the Trump Administration is now trying to address. As the nation's top lawmakers discuss potential solutions, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is once again pushing her own legislation that would attempt to fix the problem by cracking down on pharmaceutical companies.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Democrat Gail Tosh has worked a variety of jobs during her lifetime - a language consultant for video games, English teacher in eastern Europe and currrently the owner of a small chicken farm in Baldwinsville. But she's never held elected office.

Now is the time for change though, she says, not only for her but for all residents of the 120th Assembly District, which covers parts of Oswego, Onondaga and Jefferson counties.

Davis Staedtler / Flickr

New York’s members of Congress disagree as to how the next Supreme Court Justice should be chosen, after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he will retire at the end of July. 

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