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Katko says his first 100 days have been about moderation, constituent services

Ellen Abbott
Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) discusses in his first 100 days in Congress with reporters.

Syracuse-area Republican Rep. John Katko says his first 100 days in office have been a whirlwind. But, the freshman believes he’s already established an identity in Washington.

Katko’s office issued a 100-day report a little over a week ago that lists what he considers highlights from his first four months in office. They include talking with constituents from across the four-county district about a number of things -- like the future of Interstate 81, health care, and economic growth.

But beyond those specific issues, he believes he’s created a kind of niche for himself in Washington, both ideologically and in the issues he is focusing on. 

"I’ve kind of cemented myself both in Washington and back home as a moderate,” said Katko.

He’s done that through votes that have bucked the Republican Party leadership on a couple of occasions, including a February bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m working with both sides all the time. Still a fiscal conservative, like I said I was during the campaign, but I also said I was going to work with the other side, and I've kind of solidified the fact that I'm going to do that.”  

The other identity he sees for himself involves emphasizing issues of homeland security.

“From a counterterrorism and law enforcement standpoint, the 20 years as a prosecutor preceded me when I got there, and I think they really want to exploit that.”

To that end, the former federal prosecutor is chairing a House subcommittee On transportation security, which has introduced legislation to enhance security at domestic airports. He’s also been named a co-chair on a task force meant to fight terrorist and foreign fighter travel, focusing on individuals who’ve been trained overseas.

"A lot of times there going over to Syria and the Middle East, and coming back and we have to try to be able to  demonstrate before we prosecute them, that they’re involved with foreign fighting, but we can’t, so we have to keep an eye on them.”

Katko also says his first 100 days in office have been heavy on constituent service. The Republican says his office in the Galleries of Syracuse opened an average of about 32 cases a day in his first four months in office.

“We’ve saved our constituents a total of almost $350,000. Most of that is helping them get their Social Security straightened out, their retirement straightened out. People came to us with real problems and we’ve helped them out with that.”

Katko represents the 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga and Wayne Counties, and the western part of Oswego County.

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.