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Reed praises infrastructure deal, critical of Biden and Hochul

Photo by Dennis Phillips U.S. Rep. Tom Reed was in Falconer to discuss the infrastructure bill earlier this month.

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed held his first media call Wednesday in nearly a year. During the call, he promoted the infrastructure deal, criticized both President Joe Biden and Gov. Kathy Hochul for what he described as being too political, and expressed concern about the redistricting process in New York state.

During the media call, he promised this wouldn’t be his last and said he would be regularly speaking to reporters in his district.

“We will make a commitment to be here to answer your questions on a regular basis,” he said to area media, including the OBSERVER and Post-Journal.

About 10 months ago, Reed was eyeing a run for governor when he was accused of sexual misconduct by a female lobbyist while he was intoxicated. Shortly thereafter, Reed said he didn’t remember the incident but still took “full responsibility,” and noted that he had sought treatment for alcoholism. He said he would not run for either re-election or for any other office.

Since then, his office has been largely quiet, ending his weekly phone calls and only occasionally making public appearances. Most recently, he visited Falconer where he touted the infrastructure bill, noting that he was one of only 13 Republicans to vote in favor of it.

On Wednesday he continued to promote the bi-partisan infrastructure deal. “It’s easy to vote no. But to vote yes, in my humble opinion, is real leadership,” he said, adding that he has been working on a deal for infrastructure for the last 10 years.

According to Reed, about $12.5 billion will go toward New York roads and bridges, millions of dollars will be used for broadband, and $3.5 million for regional airports.

“This bi-partisan infrastructure deal is something that as we see the benefits of this once in a generation investment in infrastructure roll out, we are hearing and seeing reports of very positive returns on these dollars already,” he said.

Reed felt it was important that it was not tied to the Build Back Better Bill that some Democratic lawmakers wanted. He called that bill an “overreach” of government and doesn’t believe it should or will be passed.

When asked about is impressions of Biden’s first year in office, Reed expressed his disappointment that Biden has not been able to unite both Democrats and Republicans.

“President Biden came in promising to be that individual that could unite the country, that could work across the aisle on a regular basis. … What I’ve seen outside of the infrastructure bill is quite the opposite,” he said.

He had similar sentiments with Hochul. He noted that he worked with Hochul when she was in Congress and had hoped that she would be better than former Gov. Andrew Cuomo when it came to working with both parties.

Reed noted that in the beginning she communicated with Republicans in the state and applauded that, but said recently Hochul has been working only with Democrats.

“In the last month and a half, two months, she conducted a meeting and a call, excluding Republicans from those efforts. That’s very problematic and that doesn’t sit well with me or other members of the Republican side,” he said.

He also expressed concern about the Congressional redistricting process but feels his district will likely stay intact. “I am of the mindset that the Democratic control of Albany is going to produce a gerrymandered district for the Democrats. What that means is I’m very confident that our area in Western New York will be represented by a strong Republican member of Congress and it will become a guaranteed Republican seat,” he said.

Reed believes the Democratic leaders in New York want to compact Republican voters into fewer districts. “Mathematically they could go as low as three (Republican districts) and make the argument it complies with the law. I don’t think that’s the case. I think they’ll face some major litigation on that point,” he said.

Currently, the state has eight Republican and 19 Democratic congressional representatives. New York is losing one seat following the 2020 census due to population loss.

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