Healthcare A Top Issue For Democrats In 24th Congressional District Primary


Juanita Perez Williams (left) and Dana Balter (right) are running for the Democratic nomination in the 24th Congressional District WRVO NEWS FILE PHOTO

SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Concern about access to health care is an issue that both candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination in the 24th Congressional District are concentrating on as the June 26 primary date approaches.

Dana Balter, a Syracuse University professor, said she hears about a lot of issues as she goes door to door and speaks to groups this primary season.

“But I think that health care is probably still at the top of the list, because it touches people in a personal way,” said Balter.

As Juanita Perez Williams spoke to a group of senior citizens in Syracuse last week, she brought up problems with health care, like prescription drug costs and access, and heads nod in agreement.

“It’s under attack, it’s under attack and people are nervous and don’t know what the future holds, and so we’re making sure they’ve got to vote if they want to see a difference,” said Perez Williams.

The two candidates are hoping to get enough primary votes to be the democratic nominee against incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus).

As they face each other in the primary, it’s Katko who is the real target when they discuss health care.  Balter blames him and a Republican Congress and Presidential Administration in creating a climate that makes it easier to attack health care access.

“We’re now seeing states attaching work requirements to Medicaid, and attacks on women’s access to health care so there are pieces that continue to be very troubling about health care in our country,” said Balter.

Perez Williams said it’s an issue she hopes will energize a democratic base.

“It’s a priority in that we have to ensure that they know we want to protect what’s there, and we want to move beyond, by putting new people in office that creates a system that provides health care for everyone,” said Perez Williams.

Balter and Perez Williams face off in a June 26th primary in a bid to represent a district that covers all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne counties and the western half of Oswego County.