The Ripon Forum

Volume 54, No. 1

February 2020

Ripon Profile of John Katko

By on February 19, 2020

Name & occupation: Member of Congress, NY-24

Previous jobs held: Shortly after graduating from Syracuse University College of Law I began my career in public service, serving first as a Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. I then worked for 20 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). During this time, I worked with the DOJ’s Criminal Division, Narcotics & Dangerous Drug Section and spent time working as a Senior Trial Attorney on the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Most recently, I served as a federal organized crime prosecutor in Syracuse, leading high-level narcotics federal prosecutions.

Books you’ve read that you’re recommending to friends: Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked. Detailing the relationship between President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill, this book is a model of how politics should, and can work. Although the two came from drastically different ends of the political spectrum, the book tells the story of how two great political opponents were able to bring positive change in this nation through bipartisanship and compromise.

Challenge facing New York you’re working hard to address: In Central New York and across the country, we are facing a critical shortage of mental healthcare providers. That’s why, in Congress, I have led efforts to increase access to quality mental healthcare and have worked to reduce the stigma associated with those seeking treatment. As co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the gaps in our mental healthcare system and have advocated for legislation that reduces the gaps in our mental healthcare system. Recently, I introduced the Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act of 2019. My bipartisan legislation would increase the number of mental healthcare professionals practicing in underserved communities by authorizing a loan repayment program for those who work in an area with a lack of accessible care.

Most significant accomplishments of your first five years in office: I have been most proud of my legislative record. Last Congress, I was recognized for being one of the most effective lawmakers in Congress and for being among the most bipartisan. I came to Congress to get results for Central New York and to show that working across the aisle works. With my record of passing bipartisan legislation that addresses issues ranging from combating the heroin epidemic to strengthening national security, I believe I have shown that bipartisanship is a winning strategy.

Finish this sentence: “If I could change one thing about American politics, it would be…” “…the dysfunction in Washington and the partisan rhetoric that dominates the narrative.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.