John Katko

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Former central New York Republican Rep. Jim Walsh is among a list of more than two dozen former Republican members of Congress who are endorsing Democrat Joe Biden for president. Walsh represented the Syracuse area in Congress for two decades.

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Rep. John Katko was last on the Campbell Conversations in May, to discuss the response to the coronavirus pandemic. He joins Grant Reeher this week to further discuss the pandemic, President Trump's leadership during the crisis, the 2020 election, and more. 

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A recent report from the Government Accountability Office says that the International Joint Commission, the agency that helps regulate water levels on Lake Ontario, needs to do a better job of communicating with the public.

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There has been the usual partisan bickering in Washington this week, as Congress started negotiations on the next coronavirus relief bill that needs to be passed before the end of the month. As Democratic and Republican leadership debate what it should include, and how much it will cost, two local congressmen are hopeful a bipartisan deal can be struck.

St. Joseph's Hospital

Administrators at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse are closing its two urgent care facilities and laying off employees. CFO Meredith Price said in the last few months, revenues from elective surgeries -which were put on hold for two months- have dipped at a time when the costs related to preparing staff to handle coronavirus cases continue to increase.

Balter/Conole campaigns

Francis Conole conceded to Dana Balter Thursday in the Democratic primary for the 24th Congressional District. Balter will now face Rep. John Katko in November, a rematch from 2018.

Conole trailed Balter 62-34% after all ballots from in-person and early voting were counted Tuesday. Conole didn't concede, because there are more than 30,000 absentee ballots to count. But Conole said Thursday he called Balter to concede. He also threw his support behind Balter.

Balter/Conole campaigns

Updated at 10 a.m. Wednesday In the Democratic primary race for the 24th Congressional District, Dana Balter leads Francis Conole by more than 4,700 votes with early and primary day ballots counted. But there are still more than 28,000 absentee ballots for the race throughout the district that need to be counted, and a winner might not be declared until after the July 4 holiday.

Balter/Conole campaigns

Tuesday’s primary features a race in central New York that will determine which Democrat faces three-term Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in the race for the 24th Congressional District. The winner will either be a familiar face, or a political newcomer.

Democrat Dana Balter came within five percentage points of handing Katko his first electoral loss two years ago, and she thinks she can do better than that the second time around, holding on too much of the progressive support she corralled in 2018, and more.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said he will do everything in his power to open public pools this summer. But there are a lot of factors working against the city. 

WRVO News (file photo)

How has the federal government responded to the COVID-19 pandemic? Was it proactive enough? Did it learn lessons fast enough. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) about the pandemic, and the responses that his office has been taking. 

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is asking congressional leaders to provide direct aid for county governments in the next COVID-19 package. City and county governments are being hit hard by the loss of sales tax revenue. As a member of the White House task force for reopening the economy, Katko said he’s pushing for grant funding for police, firefighters and the Community Development Block Grant, which funds affordable housing, anti-poverty and infrastructure programs. 

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Federal funding to help state and local governments with budget shortfalls due to the coronavirus, was the first topic discussed at a virtual town hall meeting with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) on Thursday. The latest federal spending package includes funding for small businesses, hospitals and COVID-19 testing. Democrats tried to add $150 billion to go to states and cities. But Gillibrand said it was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump.

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Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said Thursday he was very disappointed there was no aid to local governments included in the most recent federal stimulus package. He said while businesses and hospitals need the federal cash infusion, county and city governments need it as well.

"We provide those basic essential services we’ve talked about in recent weeks. Police, fire, the health department," Walsh said. "Think about where we would be as a community if the county was not in the position to fund the health department the way they need to. That’s what’s on the line here."

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Rocky Mountain Laboratories

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) will participate in a virtual town hall meeting Thursday to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and take questions from constituents. The bipartisan town hall is being organized by the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA) at The Ohio State University. 

The event is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Katko and Gillibrand will be joined in the town hall by Dr. Robert Corona, CEO of Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. 

WRVO Public Media

As Americans begin receiving stimulus checks, there are concerns that funding will run out for the small business emergency loan program. Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said it’s the highest priority right now to not let that fund go empty. 

Rep. John Katko's office

Central New York Reps. John Katko (R-Camillus) and Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) are urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to immediately disperse emergency funding to local hospitals from the $2 trillion stimulus bill, signed by President Donald Trump, last week. From that bill, $100 billion is going to public health and social services. Even though some hospital beds remain empty, in preparation for a rush of coronavirus patients, Katko said local hospitals are feeling a huge financial pinch, losing money every day.

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The race for New York's 24th Congressional District seat is likely to be very competitve this year. Three Democrats are vying to be the party's challenger to incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in November. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with one of those Democrats, Francis Conole. Conole is an Iraq War veteran, a Commander in the Naval Reserves, and has the backing of the Democratic committees in Onondaga and Cayuga counties.

Congress is expected to vote this week on a bill to pump billions of dollars into the federal response to the coronavirus, which continues to spread. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said Monday that the $7-8 billion is expected to pass the House and Senate by the end of the week.

"We’re doing everything we possibly can, and the bill this week coming out of the House and Senate that’s going to be a major funding bill to fund more lines of defense. $7-8 billion is what I’m hearing. By the end of the week we’ll have that signed into law," Katko said.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

The international agency that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River could find itself the target of lawsuits if some upstate New York congressional representatives have their way. Legislation has been introduced in the House by Reps. John Katko (R-Camillus), Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), and Joe Morelle (D-Rochester) that would allow shoreline communities impacted by high water levels to take legal action against the International Joint Commission.


Democrat Roger Misso is staying in the race for central New York’s 24th Congressional District. Three candidates will compete for the Democratic nomination in a June primary. The winner will take on Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in November.

Misso, a navy veteran, who was raised in Red Creek, said the district is more than 50% rural and his campaign stands with communities that feel left behind.


For the third time in the last three elections, a primary will determine which Democrat faces Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in the race for central New York’s 24th District seat in November.

Rep. John Katko

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is introducing legislation aimed at combating sexual harassment in public housing, an effort that was inspired in part by a lawsuit that was filed against an Oswego landlord.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night stirred up some partisan rancor as he heads into an election year. Some New York representatives were looking to strike a different bipartisan tone.

Central New York Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus and says the group was unified at last night’s address.

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) has some concerns about how long it’s taking the state to get through the process of planning for the Interstate 81 project though Syracuse.

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) announced Thursday that he plans to vote for President Trump in November. It's a stark change from 2016, when Katko did not support or vote for Trump. 

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Board of elections commissioners in central New York met with federal cybersecurity officials to talk about what issues and vulnerabilities they face leading up to the 2020 election. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said New York is much further ahead in election cybersecurity than other states. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

The House of Representatives passed a resolution Thursday that would limit President Donald Trump’s ability to take further military action against Iran. Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) was one of only eight Democrats to vote against the resolution, which would require the President to seek approval from Congress before launching any attacks on Iran or its proxies unless in the case of an immediate threat to the U.S..

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

The U.S. and Canadian governments plan to undertake a study to assess Plan 2014, the water management plan used to help regulate the water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

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Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) has introduced legislation in the House to name a Fayetteville Post Office after a World War II veteran from central New York. 

Fayetteville Mayor Mark Olson says when Katko's office reached out to him about whom to name the local Post Office after, the feedback was unanimous.

Rep. John Katko / Facebook (file photo)

The House of Representative's impeachment vote not only has political consequences for President Donald Trump, but also for the those who supported and opposed it.

Grant Reeher, Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute and a professor of political science at Syracuse University, doesn't mince words about the significance of this moment for both central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who voted against impeachment, and Mohawk Valley Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), who voted to impeach.