Katko targets central New York poverty, economy for his second year in Congress
As 2016 gets underway, Rep. John Katko (R-Camilius) is embarking on his second year in Washington, representing the 24th Congressional District. The former federal prosecutor had never held political office before winning the seat in 2014.
While Katko said he went to Washington with his eyes open to the dysfunction and the partisan politics of the Capitol, things weren’t as bad as he expected.
“There’s a lot of knuckleheads of course, but there’s a lot of people doing the right thing," Katko said. "So, I guess I learned that, on both sides of the aisle. So, that’s more encouraging than I thought.”
He touts legislative movement on things like the transportation bill and the budget in the last Congress as proof that the legislative body isn’t as dysfunctional as people believe.
Personally, Katko said he’s proud of the bills he has sponsored that have passed. And, he admits his appointment as head of the Foreign Fighter’s Task Force has put him in the middle of the national discussion about homegrown radicalized terrorists and how to thwart them.
"There’s 50 recommendations and we’re going to have dozens of bills come out of that task force report and we’re really proud of it," Katko said. "It’s pretty heady stuff for a freshman congressman.”
Looking forward, Katko said he looks forward to working on ways to improve the central New York economy, and as part of that, deal with the crippling poverty in the city of Syracuse. He expects a different tenor in Washington this year because it’s an election year, and says he’s already moving ahead with his re-election strategies.
"We’re going to be remarkably well ahead of where we were the first time I ran because we’ve got the benefit of hindsight, and we also have the benefit of a great staff here," Katko said. "So, we’ll be ready to go and we’ll give anyone who runs against us, we’ll give them a good run for their money.”
There are already three democrats who’ve announced intentions to seek the Democratic party nomination run against Katko for the seat that covers Onondaga and Cayuga Counties, as well as a portion of Oswego County.