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Coming up on Connections: Friday, November 10, 2023

Keeping Our Promise Logo
Keeping Our Promise
Keeping Our Promise Logo

First hour: An update on the SIV program and the state of resettlement efforts for Afghans who served the U.S. military

Second hour: Examining significant election results in the Finger Lakes

Saturday is Veterans Day, and as we thank members of the U.S. military for their service, we discuss the latest with the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. The program helps Afghans and Iraqis who served the U.S. military resettle in the United States. These men, women, and their families face threats from the Taliban as they wait for visas. As of September, more than 840,000 Afghans are in limbo. This hour, we hear from two of Rochester’s newest residents – Afghans who waited years and traveled across borders with their families to flee the Taliban. We also discuss the state of the SIV program, and we talk to veterans with ties to Rochester. Our guests:

  • Ellen Smith, executive director of Keeping Our Promise
  • Faheem Asfe, Afghan refugee who served the U.S. government and is now living in Rochester
  • Hamed Safa, Afghan refugee who served the U.S. government and is now living in Rochester
  • Andraé Evans, U.S. Army veteran and newly-elected Irondequoit Town Supervisor
  • General John Bradley, retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force, and co-founder of the Lamia Afghan Foundation

Two Finger Lakes cities, two rather different outcomes. For the Democratic Committee in Geneva, it was a gamble to go against incumbent Democratic mayor Steve Valentino. But the party was looking for someone more overtly progressive. Republicans invited Valentino to run on their line, and he won a close race. Meanwhile, in Canandaigua, Democrats swept this year’s City Council races. This hour, our guests talk about the dynamics in their cities, and the work ahead. Our guests:

  • Steve Valentino, mayor of Geneva
  • Michael Mills, councilman-elect of Canandaigua
  • Erich Dittmar, councilman for the city of Canandaigua
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.