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Brian Higgins (born October 6, 1959), a Democrat from New Yorkmarker, has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 2004, representing the state's 27th Congressional District. The district includes the southern two-thirds of Buffalomarker proper, most of that city's eastern and southern suburbs, and all of Chautauqua Countymarker. ( map).

A native of Buffalo, Higgins served three two-year terms on the Buffalo Common Council (city council) from 1988 to 1993, representing the South District. In 1993, during his final year on the Council, Brian was rated “Buffalo’s Best Lawmaker” in a 1993 Buffalo News Survey of Western New York business and community leaders. In 1996 he received a Master of Public Administration from Harvardmarker's John F. Kennedy School of Government. After that, Brian served as the 145th District representative to the New York Assembly from 1999 through 2004.

Jack Quinn, a moderate Republican who had represented the heavily Democratic 27th since 1993, unexpectedly announced his retirement in 2004. In April 2004 Higgins entered the race, and narrowly defeated then-Erie Countymarker Comptroller Nancy Naples. Higgins was undoubtedly helped by John Kerry's landslide win in the district. Even when redistricting after the 2000 census made it slightly friendlier for Quinn (in part by adding mostly rural Chautauqua County), the 27th was still at the time the most Democratic district in the country to be represented by a Republican. The district has since reverted to form, and Higgins has been reelected twice against nominal Republican opposition, although his 2008 opponent posted six-figure fundraising numbers. In both 2006 and 2008, Higgins garnered over 70 percent of the vote.

Congressional Work and Views

Higgins is a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He describes himself as a pro-union moderate who wants to spur job growth. He has said he supports allowing seniors to buy prescription drugs from Canadamarker, and that one of his priorities in Congress will be to push for legislation allowing the government to negotiate for volume discounts on drugs.

He has also said he wants Congress to repeal President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals.

He got $279 Million over 50 years for Erie County's various governments and agencies from the New York Power Authority as part of the Niagara Power Project 50-year relicensing agreement. Higgins is an advocate for economic development and job creation, and played a pivotal role through his membership on the House's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in securing approval for the construction of a new federal courthouse in downtown Buffalo.

Higgins strongly advocates for increased federal funding for cancer research, as Buffalo is home to Roswell Park Cancer Institutemarker, the nation's first major medical facility devoted exclusively to treating cancer.

In 2007, Higgins played a pivotal behind-the-scenes role in saving St. Joseph's Hospital in Cheektowagamarker New Yorkmarker from closure as proposed by the New York State Commission on Health Facilities in the 21st Century.

For 2007, Higgins received an "A+" on the 2007 Congressional Scorecard on middle-class issues from the Drum Major Institute, which describes itself as "providing ideas that fuel the progressive movement." As of April 2008, his 2008 record on behalf of middle-class taxpayers was graded at 100%.

In January, 2008, Rep. Higgins met with the family of slain US diplomat John Granville (a resident of his neighborhood) and offered support during press coverage of the event.

In May 2008 he tackled the case of James Raymond a disabled veteran who was reactivated to go over and serve in Iraq. He was able to convince the Army to delay and then postpone Raymond's deployment in a case that was seen all over the national media. James Raymond was not a member of Higgins district but tackled the issue because he is searching for better reform for veterans.

Rep. Higgins was named by several media outlets as one of the leading candidates to replace Hillary Clinton in the United States Senate after she became Secretary of State in an Obama Administration. He was one of six candidates on New York Governor David Paterson's "short list" for the position; a Web poll conducted by WKBW-TVmarker showed 75% of respondents on the station's Web site would support Higgins being nominated. In the end, Paterson instead appointed Hudson Valley Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand. On January 31, 2009, Higgins led a delegation of Western New York elected leaders in welcoming Gillibrand to the region, moderating an economic roundtable discussion held at the Bioinformatics Center of Excellence, located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

In December 2008, after only two terms in the House of Representatives, Rep. Higgins secured a spot on the United States House Committee on Ways and Means, considered to be one of the most important and powerful committees in Congress due to its wide jurisdiction. Higgins was subsequently appointed to serve on the Ways and Means Committee's subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, as well as its subcommittee on Oversight.

Committee assignments



Caucus memberships

  • Co-chair, Older Cities Task Force
  • Member, Great Lakes Task Force
  • Member, House Cancer Caucus
  • Member, House Steel Caucus


References

External links




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