Balter, Katko make first joint public appearance Balter, Katko make first joint public appearance

After weeks of back-and-forth political attacks, candidates for New York’s 24th Congressional District have finally appeared at the same event.

Republican incumbent John Katko (R-Camillus) and Democratic challenger Dana Balter spoke at the CNY Community Foundation in downtown Syracuse on Monday. Members of the Central New York community who are disabled had the opportunity to ask policy questions directly to the candidates hoping to represent them. One of the main issues surrounded government-funded programs relevant to those with disabilities.

“I think that any project with federal funding should be required to have accessible, affordable, and integrated housing,” Balter said. “I think visibility needs to be our standard from here forward, and it’s about building inclusive communities.”

Balter went on to challenge Katko’s voting record and his commitment to protecting government-funded programs.

“With respect to Medicare, Medicad, or Social Security, I never have or never will advocate for cuts to Social Security or Medicaid, period. What my opponent is doing, what the narrative out there is doing, is scaring people into thinking that’s going to happen,” Katko said.

Throughout the campaign, Balter has accused Katko of ducking debates and joint appearances in front of the district’s voters. The Katko campaign said the incumbent plans to attend ten different forums where the public can ask questions, but Balter says this was the only event where both candidates would be present.

Despite Balter’s attempt to have live debates in all four counties of the district, the debates both parties agreed to will be televised from Syracuse. The first official debate is scheduled for October 24th.

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