Rochester, N.Y. (WROC) — While Congressman John Katko, a Republican, is rightly labeled as a Central New York representative, his district – NY-24 – actually covers all of Wayne County.
For that reason, the ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security stopped by News 8 for an interview with Adam Chodak.
Here’s some of what they talked about:
Adam Chodak: Let’s talk about crime, violence. There’s obviously and uptick here and there’s a federal task force in town, VIPER. You sit on a committee that can help oversee some it. What’s your relationship when it comes to this kind of uptick in Upstate New York cities?
John Katko: It’s really to support it. I’m really not a federal prosecutor, but when I was I did a similar task force in Syracuse and other places in the country. And I did these task forces where I bring together state, local and federal law enforcement because a lot of the tools we have in the federal toolbox in a law enforcement standpoint they’re not available in New York nowadays with bail reform and other things, they make it very difficult for local police officers to do their jobs. So I think this task force is destined for success and I think our community is going to be better off for it, no question about it. No question.
AC: As the U.S. is pulling out of Afghanistan, hoping to be completely out by September 11th this year there’s a concern that the Afghan allies that we had – the interpreters, the contractors – they’re being threatened, their families are being threatened by the Taliban. There’s a move now to expedite the visa program. What do you think about that effort?
JK: Well, think about it this way. In May alone 180,000 people were allowed to come into this country illegally on the Southern border and we’re talking about a relatively small number of Afghans who keep Americans safe and alive and we’re giving them a hard time about coming into this country, it doesn’t make sense. If they’re properly vetted, expedite the vetting process to get them safe. I saw the other day where Taliban soldiers killed 22 individuals because they were suspected of cooperating with U.S. soldiers. That’s what’s going to happen when we’re gone and that’s what’s going to happen if you don’t get them out of there soon. They stuck their necks out for us, we should be able to protect them.
AC: You’ve been critical of the current Jan. 6 select committee saying it’s partisan in nature and makeup. At the same time there was the bipartisan commission that was proposed by the Democrats, was supported by you, that was stopped by the Republicans leaving Democrats with only a few options. What would have been ideal for you? Did they have any other options?
JK: The bipartisan Jan. 6 plan, I wrote with others. We had it perfectly balanced. One side couldn’t subpoena without the other, that’s the way it should be, but people in our party politicized that and stopped it and it was wrong to do so, so now what’s left is Pelosi had the option of either taking that bill and just making a select committee set up the same as that bill, but she decided not to do that and made a committee dominated by Democrats and giving them sole subpoena power which in turn is going to make it a highly political thing with no end in site and that’s what I’m concerned about.
AC: When it comes to vaccination efforts, in Monroe County it seems like we have stalled out a little bit. What’s your message to people who perhaps have not gotten vaccinate
JK: Listen, this is American, no one is going to force you to do it, but for the sake of your own health and the sake of others I would get it done. I got vaccinated early on and it was not a big deal. I’m safer for it and the people I come in contact with are safer for it. I think you have think about others besides yourself.