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Katko delivers farewell address, encourages bipartisanship

Congressman John Katko gave a farewell address at Syracuse University on November 28.
Syracuse University
Congressman John Katko gave a farewell address at Syracuse University on November 28.

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) spoke at Syracuse University Monday evening for a farewell address. First elected in 2014, Katko served four terms in Congress representing New York’s 24th Congressional District and has been voted as one of the most bipartisan members of Congress.

In his address, Katko said he was driven to run for Congress due to frustration on issues that were dividing the country.

“I wanted to go to Congress, I wanted to surround myself with staff in Congress that wanted to solve serious problems and doing so focusing on unifying issues,” Katko said.

He said one of the aspects he is most proud of is the bipartisan approach he took to his position. He said he would only introduce a bill if a Democrat was a co-sponsor.

“It allows you to be successful legislatively,” Katko said. “From the beginning you get buy-in from the other side. It’s a basic concept, something I feel we’ve lost in this country.”

Katko was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment saying the January 6 Insurrection was one of his darkest times in Congress. He says the decision to vote to impeach was easy because it was the right thing to do.

“To me it was kind of a no-brainer,” Katko said. “I attacked the decision making process in that bill just like any other bill.”

Katko said he supports term limits, one reason why he chose to step down after eight years, saying more people may have chosen to do the right thing in voting to impeach former President Trump. He says he’d like to see term limits capped at 12 years.

Katko’s advice to his successor? Listen to everybody on both sides of the aisle.

“You don’t just represent Republicans,” Katko said. “The Democrats are not enemies. You can disagree with them on 90% of the things but on the 10% that you agree with them on, work on those for the good of the community and listen to everybody.”

Because of redistricting, Rep. Claudia Tenney will represent the new 24th Congressional District and Brandon Williams will represent the new 22nd Congressional District - both of which incorporate portions of Katko’s former 24th District.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.