TWC in the House! (of Representatives)

TWC in the House! (of Representatives)

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Kristin Simonetti
August 04, 2015

After spending more than two decades prosecuting gang members and drug traffickers as a federal prosecutor, John Katko '82 decided to take on a different kind of public-service challenge: He ran for Congress. And he won.


In January, Rep. Katko (R-NY) became just the second alumnus of The Washington Center to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. (The first, Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza '79, served central California from 2003 to 2012.) Heading into the first August recess of his term, Rep. Katko took a few minutes to answer questions from Alumni Engagement Manager Kristin Simonetti. Read on to learn more about this distinguished TWC alumnus.


How did your TWC experience play a role in where you are today?


My internship at The Washington Center provided me with a unique outlook on the federal government and public policy at a young age. As one of my early professional experiences, I believe this internship nudged me toward a career in public service.


What prompted your career shift from litigator to legislator?


I decided to leave my 20-plus-year career as a federal prosecutor to run for Congress because I strongly believe, and still do believe, that central New York deserves strong and independent leadership in Washington. I've lived in central New York nearly all my life, and I want my children and their children to be able to live and prosper in this community.


What's the biggest thing that's surprised you about being a member of Congress?


I didn't expect all of the walking! I've lost more than 15 pounds since taking office. I also didn't realize the number of procedural votes that are required before a substantive bill can be voted on in the House.


If you could share a piece of advice with our students and alumni, what would that be?


I would tell current and future TWC interns to enjoy and soak up every minute of their young professional experiences and to make as many professional connections as they can. You never know what you can learn from your colleagues - young or old!


Learn more about Rep. Katko at his website.

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