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Hanna offers practical advice to area's new Congressional members

Gino Geruntino
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) meets with members of the Oswego County Farm Bureau, local farmers and other agriculture experts. (file photo)

Utica-area Rep. Richard Hanna will start his third term in Congress in January. But the 114th Congress will be a different dynamic for the 22nd Congressional District Republican.

First, Hanna will have two new congressional representatives in neighboring districts. Gone are Democrats Rep. Dan Maffei  and Rep. Bill Owens. In their place are freshman Republicans John Katko in the Syracuse-centric 24th Congressional District, and Elise Stefanik in the North Country's  21st District.

Hanna says he already given some advice to the newcomers.

"You know what I told them both?" Hanna asked. "I think they know this. I said, 'remember where you live.' Just because people are vocal doesn’t mean they own the majority.”

Hanna says that means listening and showing respect to all of the constituents in a district, regardless of their politics.

“We work for 717,000 people," Hanna explained. "And you have an obligation to try and represent a broad variety of views and attitudes. And even if you don’t agree, you have to listen and you have to show respect.”

The other big change coming up in Washington? There will be a bigger Republican majority in the House and Republican control of the Senate.   

Hanna hopes that doesn’t further gridlock.

“You hope that people who are more inclined to compromise and work together, get things done, show up," Hanna said. "We’re going to have about 15 new members on the Republican side.”

Hanna has had his disagreements with the more conservative tea party members of Congress in the past, calling them extremists. He is considered a moderate and supports abortion rights and gay marriage, and has voted with Democrats in the past on some high profile issues, like the government shutdown.    

In the upcoming session, Hanna urges his party to compromise.

"The Republican Party may have the majority in both houses, but that doesn’t mean they have the right to, or should, I think, press issues that aren’t broadly reflective of the country we live in," Hanna said.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.