Katko Versus Maffei: The Race for Congress


Photo Courtesy of www.syracuse.com

Amari D. Pollard ‘17 & Molly McGuane ‘17, NEWS & FEATURES EDITOR, ASST. NEWS & FEATURES EDITOR

Throwing money at problems is not an effective way to solve them, but money is a big part of the problem, said congressional candidate John Katko during his panel on Monday at Le Moyne.

“How do you measure success? By getting things done,” said Katko. “Two years, if I don’t get anything done…get me out.”

Central New York is home to thousands of people and in order to make sure it stays home there needs to be an expansion of economic opportunities, said Congressman Dan Maffei during his panel on Tuesday at Le Moyne.

“It does concern me that there is not enough good paying jobs and there is too much expense for things like property tax,” said Maffei. “I do not want to have our economic situation unfairly disadvantage us because we do have a lot of assets.”

This week in the Reilly Room was host to two congressional candidates competing for the seat to represent New York’s 24th district. Republican candidate John Katko talked to students this past Monday night, while Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei took the floor Tuesday afternoon. Le Moyne holds a special place in the candidates’ hearts [with ties through their parents and siblings], so each was thrilled to make the trip to The Heights.

Both candidates were questioned by a panel of three students each night along with moderators from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and New House School. The students prepared questions for each candidate for the first half of the event, followed by a Question and Answer session between the audience and the candidates to close the discussion.

Maffei and Katko both voiced their stances on a variety of issues including education, climate change, social security, and affordable health care.

Candidate John Katko, a central New York native and former federal prosecutor, voiced his concern about partisan gridlock in Congress. Katko described himself as a moderate, stating that a big motivator for him to join the congressional race was to engage in bipartisan reform. Though he characterized himself as a moderate Republican, Katko did express party-line views on issues such as gun-control, obamacare, and social security.

Another Central New York native and graduate of Nottingham high school, Congressman Dan Maffei spoke abundantly on the issues of affordable education, student debt, and social security, while also touching on environmental issues such as climate change and hydraulic fracturing. Congressman Maffei has represented New York’s 24th district twice before, elected in 2008, losing the seat in 2010 to former Republican Congressman Ann Marie Buerkle, and then being re-elected in 2012 to his current position.

Both candidates held the attention of  students and faculty for over an hour, discussing potent issues while also offering the audience a view of each candidate’s personality and background. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look on Congressman Dan Maffei’s and candidate John Katko’s visit to Le Moyne in next week’s issue.