CAMILLUS, N.Y. (Democracy in Action) — Across the street from the Camillus Volunteer Fire Department, a group of seven enthusiastic friends and neighbors of U.S. Rep. John Katko waved American flags and posters in support of the Republican candidate for the 24th Congressional District.
The group was surprised when Katko’s wife, Robin, showed up with donuts and motivation for the supporters. She said this is just one stop along the way as she goes to other Camillus polling locations in support of her husband.
Lori Ciarla, one of the supporters, said that Katko lives about two miles from the polling location and that her husband used to coach a youth hockey team with the congressman.
“I’m not really involved in politics, but I know him personally,” Ciarla said. “I know what kind of person he is. So, whether I’m a Democrat or Republican, I believe in him and that he’ll do the right thing.”
As of 8:30 a.m., Ciarla was undecided on the Presidential election, but said she would make up her mind when she went to vote at 9 a.m.
“The presidential race is very important but scary this year,” she said. “And I still don’t know what to do right now.”
Michael Assaf, an 18-year-old first time voter, said that the local election was more important to him than the presidential one.
“There really isn’t a right choice,” Assaf said of the presidential nominees. “One person who really sticks out to me is John Katko. He’s done a really great job so far, and my aunt actually works at the school his kids go to. He seems like a good family guy, which is really important to me.”
The neighbors holding signs kept smiling as cars drove past and honked in support of Katko, who is running against Democrat Colleen Deacon from Syracuse.
“I would think that a lot of people, when they’re honking, they’re giving their support,” Ciarla said. “I did have a thumbs down though, and it makes me feel mad. I’m like, ‘He’s our neighbor.’ How can you not support our neighbor?”