Today, the News editorial page offers endorsements in the three congressional races in Western New York. Whether you agree or disagree with our conclusions, we urge you to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
23rd Congressional District: Tom Reed
The Corning-based incumbent has matured into this job. Republican Tom Reed is willing to work across the aisle with Democratic colleagues, which counts as a radical idea in 21st century Washington. His leadership in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and efforts such as the “break the gridlock” rules package offer real hope for Washington D.C.’s return to effective, civil political discourse.
The Southern Tier representative wants to take on the national debt crisis and mentioned his concerns as the reason he broke with the Republican party to vote against the budget deal. It should be noted that Reed supported the unfunded tax reform package, which he defended by citing spending, not revenue, as the source of the nation’s red ink.
It remains to be seen how much a force he can be, but as the Ways and Means Committee member gains seniority, especially if Republicans remain in the majority, his profile and ability to serve his constituents and country will grow.
Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano, a cybersecurity expert concerned about the nation’s network, is smart, well-spoken and well-informed. But anyone willing to tone down Washington’s divisiveness should be rewarded. That’s Reed. He deserves the chance restore a level of respect in a chamber that has come to define the word dysfunctional.
26th Congressional District: Brian Higgins
Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, has for the past decade or more received accolades from his constituents and much of the rest of the community. The praise is well earned. He works as if it could be his last day. More politicians would be wise to emulate that effort.
Higgins worked his way up from Common Councilmember to Assembly to Congress and along the way has been a leading figure in Canalside development. He also pushed for removal of the former Robert Moses Parkway, renamed the Niagara Scenic Parkway. More recently, he has focused on North and South Aud block progress and the Outer Harbor, soon to open a 40-acre brand new park.
Higgins, a vice-ranking member of the Ways and Means committee, serves his constituents well and remains one of Western New York’s most valuable assets.
Renee Zeno is the Republican opponent.
27th Congressional District: Nate McMurray
What once appeared a cakewalk for incumbent Republican Chris Collins burst into a mixed martial arts-style clash after Collins’ indictment on charges of insider trading. Democrats – who once though they couldn’t win and failed to recruit a strong candidate – are now rallying around McMurray, Grand Island supervisor.
McMurray may be aiming high, but he is not without notable accomplishments. They include development of the West River Parkway Trail and the arrival of cashless tolls on Grand Island. And while it’s a big leap from town supervisor to Congress, McMurray, a Democrat running in the state’s most Republican district, has pledged to find “core common values” with other members and to reflect voters’ concerns.
By itself, Collins’ indictment renders him unsuitable. But even before the indictment, his reckless mingling of his private business with his public duties was troubling. And his push to eliminate New Yorkers’ deduction for state and local taxes was baffling and outrageous. He was so wed to ideological mumbo jumbo that he chose to hurt his constituents and all of New York.
This may be one of the hottest congressional races but the decision should be easy. McMurray is the better choice.