Democratic Representative Brian Higgins of New York has revealed his intention to step down from Congress in February, concluding his 19-year tenure. Citing frustrations with the current state of Congress, especially during a tumultuous year, Higgins expressed concerns about growing dysfunction within U.S. politics.
Addressing the media at the Buffalo History Museum, Higgins explained his decision, saying, “I’ve always been a little impatient, and that trait has helped us deliver remarkable progress for this community. But the pace in Washington, D.C. can be slow and frustrating, especially this year.” He went on to state that after careful consideration, he has chosen to leave Congress to explore alternative ways to contribute to and serve Buffalo and Western New York.
At the news conference, the 64-year-old, who began his 10th term in January 2023, emphasized the need for change and expressed his desire to return to the city he represented in Washington for nearly two decades. Higgins serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Budget Committee, handling tax writing and the resolution of the fiscal budget framework.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries praised Higgins as a “dedicated public servant” who brought the best of Buffalo to the House Democratic Caucus. Despite the accolades, Higgins believes Congress has evolved into a different institution than the one he joined 19 years ago. He expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, stating, “Congress is not the institution that I went to 19 years ago. It’s a very different place today. We’re spending more time doing less. And the American people aren’t being served.”
Acknowledging the changes in Congress, Higgins, who regularly returned home each week, stressed the importance of being in Western New York and connecting with constituents. Despite his frustration, he expressed gratitude for the honor of serving in Congress, recognizing it as the experience of a lifetime.
Higgins joins a growing list of House members announcing their departures in recent weeks, including Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Under New York law, Governor Kathy Hochul will need to call a special election next year to find a successor for Representative Higgins.