Higgins not concerned about progressive push to remove him from office

Tennessee-based group scouting local activist to replace 8-term congressman

Mike Baggerman
July 23, 2019 - 3:00 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Congressman Brian Higgins said he's not worried about efforts to find a more progressive candidate to replace him in the 2020 election.

Talks about removing Higgins began about two months ago when the Tennessee-based political action committee "Justice Democrats" contacted Jackie James Creedon, a local activist whose work with Citizen Science included notable pushes like the end of Tonawanda Coke's operations last year. Creedon said she was not interested in running for Congress but she was intrigued by what the group discussed with her.

"Every time I've run for election and re-election, I have been challenged," Higgins said. "Each political cycle and each election offers both opportunities and challenges. I am used to outside influences coming in and trying to impose their views on our local community. I've been fighting them since I've been in Congress. Whether it's unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington or New York, whether it's public authorities that are trying to exploit the resources of a community, I fight on behalf of the people of this community to rightfully gain from the resources we have here."

Higgins has not had a primary challenger on the ballot since 2004, when he was elected to Congress for the first time. He has had an opponent in the general election every two years, though none of those candidates put up a serious challenge to the incumbent.

"I had a Skype interview with quite a number of folks from Justice Democrats," Creedon said while noting the group interviewed a New England candidate. "I told them straight out that there's bigger fish to fry out there...I'm interested in supporting a candidate to replace President Trump. I really wasn't interested but I followed up more out of curiosity."

She praised Higgins for his support of Citizen Science during the Tonawanda Coke closure.

"They consider him the establishment," Creedon explained. "They're looking for a more progressive candidate like AOC".

Creedon said she has supported Higgins in the past but did say that there are elected officials who have been in office too long and have become complacent. She believes there needs to be term limits at the federal level.

"You just never know what's going to happen," she said.

Higgins said Justice Democrats has momentum because of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez' rise.

"It's an outside influence and the bottom line is that Buffalo and Western New York is why I went to Congress in the first place," he said. "It's what I come back to every week following votes. It's a reminder of the connected-ness that's most important for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. There's a reason why Article 1 of the constitution deals with Congress....We're ready for any challenge that comes."

The primary election date next year for the House of Representatives is June 23.


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