Katko unveils plan for veterans, says VA needs to be held accountable

Jul 10, 2014

John Katko, the Republican candidate for the 24th Congressional District, outlined his five-point plan for veterans Wednesday.

Katko says most people don’t have a problem with the Veterans Affairs system in Syracuse, but emphasized that’s not the case nationwide. Katko said his experience as a federal prosecutor gives him the ability to hold accountable those responsible for falsifying VA records, as seen throughout the country. Katko also emphasized his willingness to reach across the aisle.

“The individuals within the Republican Party that are unwilling to deal with the other side are not doing the service of the country," Katko said. "We need to deal with the other side, we need to work together as a country to get back on track. We cannot do that with partisanship.”

Along with addressing wait times and wasteful spending, Katko says he wants to work with the private sector, non-profits and higher education to help veterans get jobs. He also says reform is needed to provide veterans with timely access to affordable healthcare, which is at the heart of the nationwide VA scandal.

“I want to use my twenty years as a federal prosecutor to help take part in that process," Katko explained. "You know about how they falsified records. You know about how they tried to cover things up. People need to be held accountable for what has happened. They need to be prosecuted if prosecution is warranted.”

Democrats held a rival press conference to highlight incumbent Congressman Dan Maffei’s track record. City Auditor Marty Masterpole referenced recent interviews Katko had done, in which the Republican said he didn’t know where he stood on some issues.

“We’re asking the Republican candidate in this race; take a position," Masterpole said. "No position is not going to cut it.”

Katko says he surpasses Maffei greatly in recent public appearances and says his website lists where he stands on the issues. The 24th Congressional District includes Onondaga, Oswego, Wayne and Cayuga Counties.