John Katko

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Oswego officials commemorated the completion of its $19 million breakwater wall renovation Wednesday. The Oswego Harbor's wall stops incoming waves, but the magnitude of 2012's Superstorm Sandy devastated the structure.

"Just three years ago, Superstorm Sandy ravaged the northeast," said Lt. Col. Karl Jansen, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo district. "A lot of that attention goes to the Atlantic coast, but it impacted the great lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to a degree as well."

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A report out of the House Task Force on Foreign Fighters is getting more attention following the Paris Terror attacks.  Central New York Rep. John Katko, who’s a co-chair of the group, hopes it means Washington will take some of their advice about how best stop the flow of foreign fighters between Syria and their home countries.

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A group of volunteers in Oswego are working with state officials to elevate Fort Ontario and its Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum to a national, and even possibly global, status.

First constructed in 1759, Fort Ontario has undergone many changes in its history. It was defended and destroyed by both the British and the United States. Then during World War II, Fort Ontario became a refugee camp for European Jews and in 1953, it opened as a state historic site. Now, a grassroots campaign hopes to see the fort transform once again. 

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A couple of upstate members of Congress are leading the charge to push back against proposed cuts to mass transit funding in the Northeast as part the transportation bill.

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A six-year highway funding bill passed by the House of Representatives last week would remove $564 million from New York's current federal transportation funding.

A last-minute amendment to the House bill would move $1.6 billion in funding from seven Northeastern states to a general discretionary fund for use by the entire nation. Current law allows these high density areas to receive the extra funding because they account for half of all transit in the country. Sen. Charles Schumer said the loss of funding for New York is a travesty for the state's transit system.

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Making sure airports are as secure as possible was the focus of a congressional subcommittee hearing held at the federal building in Syracuse Monday. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who chairs the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation Security, said one goal of the session was to find ways to beef up security at the nation’s airports.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The decision on the future of the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant in Oswego County is expected this week. In the meantime, elected leaders at the local, state and federal level are engaged in talks with the plant's owner Entergy on how to keep the doors open. It's currently battling falling energy prices.

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The wars may have been decades ago, but Central New Yorkers who served in the Vietnam War and World War II got some long-awaited recognition this month. For decades, Gary Janis of Auburn didn’t talk about his tour of duty in Vietnam.  But, he says in the last five or six years, he’s been able to open up about the experience. Janis was part of a five- or six-man group that would gather information from behind enemy lines. "We would be dropped off by helicopter, infiltrate in, get our information," Janis said. Hopefully, we wouldn’t be compromised.

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Rep. John Katko (R-NY) spoke at a rally to save the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant on Monday. The owners of the plant said they may have to close it next year because it is no longer profitable with the low price of electricity. Katko said nuclear energy is clean energy and with new federal carbon emission standards, New York state can't afford to lose nuclear power plants.

Congressman John Katko has tried to position himself as a moderate within the Congressional Republican Party.  One local Democrat who’s not convinced about this is Eric Kingson, the Syracuse University professor recently announced his candidacy for Katko's 24th district seat.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with the Democratic challenger, and explores his views about Katko’s voting record, and Kingson’s own plans for expanding the Social Security program. 

Note: This conversation took place before House Speaker John Boehner announced his intention to resign from Congress at the end of October.

When the House of Representatives voted recently to defund Planned Parenthood, central New York Republican Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said he voted to stop funding the organization temporarily while the House investigated a series of videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal body parts for research -- which is illegal.

This week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher is joined by first-term Congressman John Katko, who represents central New York’s 24th district.  The wide-ranging discussion covers the funding for Planned Parenthood, poverty in Syracuse, Katko’s effort to be moderate and bi-partisan, his campaign support from the Republican Party’s Patriot Program, and the Republican presidential field.

Note: This interview was recorded before Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of October.

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Syracuse University professor Eric Kingson announced he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress in the Syracuse-area's 24th District in 2016.

Kingson is pushing a progressive agenda leading with an expansion of Social Security. A small but vocal crowd of younger and older people came out to Kingson’s campaign launch in Syracuse and those two demographics are exactly who Kingson said he wants to connect with.

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is introducing legislation he hopes will unearth definitive answers about the effects of Agent Orange on U.S. veterans who served in Vietnam and Korea.

Central New Yorker Larry Hackett served for two years in Vietnam in the late 1960s.

“He survived the war, returned home to central New York, started a family with his wife Alice, and started a wonderful life here. Three decades later he discovered that the war had followed him home,” said Onondaga County Court Judge Joe Fahey, telling the story of his friend Hackett.

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To raise awareness on the state of poverty in Syracuse, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) went to several food pantries and nonprofit organizations serving the poor on Tuesday. Katko said the way to reduce poverty is by reforming inner-city education.

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Union groups from across central New York marched in the Labor Day parade at the New York State Fair Monday morning.

The president of the New York State United Teachers federation, Karen Magee, spoke to a large crowd about the accomplishments of the labor movement including better safety conditions, weekends and the 40-hour work week. NYSUT is made up of 600,000 members who work in education, healthcare and human services.

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About 100 protesters rallied outside of the federal building in downtown Syracuse on Wednesday, calling on Congress to support funding of Title X, which subsidizes thousands of health clinics nationwide, including some Planned Parenthood clinics.

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Republican House Speaker John Boehner traveled across upstate New York on Thursday, attending private golf fundraisers for upstate Republicans in Congress. About a dozen protesters came to downtown Syracuse to voice their disapproval with Boehner, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and legislation left on the table while Congress is away on August recess.


This year, the House of Representatives passed four bills sponsored by Katko including some to improve airport security.


Tom Magnarelli


Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is cosponsoring a bill called the TREAT Act in Congress that would increase the number of patients that medical practitioners can prescribe medication for treatment of drug abuse from 30 to 100. Katko held a public meeting in Oswego to address the recent rise in heroin addictions in central New York.


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New York politicians are raising concerns that the sale of medical device manufacturer Welch Allyn could put central New York jobs in jeopardy.

When Hill-Rom announced Wednesday morning that it is acquiring Welch Allyn, it did not say that any jobs would be eliminated at the Skaneateles Falls-based company. But that's what was immediately on the mind of the lawmakers who represent the central New York in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told reporters Wednesday he had a “call in” to company representatives to find out more.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection / Washington Area Spark via Flickr

Sponsors of a bill to put Harriet Tubman's face on U.S. currency say they're getting a lot of support. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is one of the seven original representatives who introduced the bill in Congress earlier this month, noting that it has been a true bipartisan piece of legislation.

"We've already got co-sponsors from the entire spectrum in the congress. Democrats, Republicans, males, females, African Americans, everything," Katko says. "It's a great cross-section of support for it and there seems to be a lot of excitement about it."

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) has joined the movement in Congress to make the NCAA more accountable. 

Katko is among five House of Representatives members introducing a bill that would reform the way the NCAA oversees college sports. The legislation would require the NCAA to be more transparent in how it deals with disciplinary cases, which include investigations that sometimes go on years. There would also be some sort of legal avenue for schools or athletes accused of transgressions.  

  Waiting lists for treatment of opioid addiction continue to grow in central New York. That’s why local addiction experts are hoping proposed federal legislation that could help the situation becomes law.  

Monika Taylor, director of behavioral health services at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse says Buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone, can be key to someone getting off their addiction to opioids -- heroin or prescription painkillers.

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) says more resources are needed to fight recruitment of individuals by radical organizations like ISIS and groups linked to al-Qaida.  He says one of the big goals should be an anti-messaging campaign aimed at extremist groups.

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Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko is touring schools in central New York this week, looking for ways to strengthen education policy.

It’s a story Katko says he’s heard again and again: federally mandated standardized testing is stifling teaching flexibility, and forcing all children to be taught in a one-size-fits-all curriculum. To make his point at a news conference Tuesday, he read a letter he received from an Onondaga County sixth grader, upset at the way he sees test prep taking over schools.

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Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko has his work cut out for him as co-chair of the Task Force on Terrorist, Foreign Fighter Threat. The Republican just returned from a trip to several countries in the Middle East to get a sense of where problems might lie.

Katko, as part of an eight-member congressional delegation, visited Israel, Iraq, Turkey and some European countries to get a better idea of the dangers posed by foreign fighters -- those Westerners recruited and trained by terrorist organizations.

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Earlier this month, the 114th Congress passed its first 100 days of Republican rule in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Rep. John Katko, the freshman Republican from central New York’s 24th Congressional District, admits things didn’t get off to a good start, with GOP leadership missteps on votes involving abortion and immigration.

"There were some bumps in the road starting out, but I think we’re starting to find our groove a bit,” Katko says.

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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.

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The three Republican members of Congress that now represent northern and central New York have been presenting a united front when it comes to issues important to the region like Fort Drum and border control. And, they say they are not afraid to stand up to their party at a time when Washington often is paralyzed because of inflexibility from extreme elements in the Republican and Democratic parties.

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The three members of Congress that represent upstate New York From the North Country, through central New York, to the Southern Tier, are making a case for a regional defense symmetry. Reps. John Katko, Richard Hanna and Elise Stefanik toured upstate military facilities together Tuesday, to put the focus on potential federal budget cuts that could hurt bases in their districts.