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A long time Republican Congressman has just abruptly resigned, stepping down from office more than seven months before the end of his term.
After being accused of sexual misconduct in the past, New York Congressman Tom Reed announced last year that he would not run for reelection, but on Tuesday announced his resignation during a speech on the floor of the US House of Representatives.
“After almost 12 years in Congress, today is my last day,” Reed, 50, announced on the House floor.
“It has been an honor to serve with you all from both parties,” he added. “I love this institution, as it still exemplifies what is best about our government. We are the People’s House.
Although he did not state the reason for his resignation, he stressed that there is still much to be done to put “people before politics.” “I am leaving to continue that work and hope to have a greater impact on our country,” Reed said.
Reporters have been informed by Reed’s office that he will be joining the DC-based firm Prime Policy Group, a public affairs and public relations firm, according to the New York Post.
The lawmaker then cited Abraham Lincoln’s 1858 speech in which he said, “A divided house cannot hold together,” a warning Reed said has become more urgent due to what he called the “current focus on extremism.”
“But I add — a house united will not fail. It is time for petty political posturing to end,” Reed said. “Leadership must emerge, and in God I trust. His divine protection will extend again if only we acknowledge and accept His love and the divine spark that exists in each of us as citizens of our great nation.”
In concluding, Reed thanked the voters of New York’s 23rd Congressional District for “giving a country lawyer, the youngest of twelve, raised by a single mother, whose father passed away when I was just two years old, the honor of representing you at the highest level. Only in America can such a dream come true.”
“So, I humbly bid farewell and submit my resignation as a Member of the House, and I wish you all Godspeed!” Reed added.
During a networking event held at a Minneapolis pub in 2017, the Republican representative from western New York was accused of rubbing a female lobbyist’s back and unhooking her bra without her consent.
Reed apologized to Nicolette Davis – who claimed to the Washington Post that the Republican made unwanted sexual advances towards her at the Minneapolis bar four years prior, after the allegation was reported in March 2021.
“Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility,” he said in a statement.
At the time of the incident, he said he was in a state of “struggling” and had just entered treatment after realizing he had no power over his drinking.
As a first-term member of Congress elected in 2010, he had said earlier in 2021 that if Andrew Cuomo ran for governor again, he would seriously consider a bid.
As the Democratic Governor of New York, Cuomo resigned in August following allegations of sexual misconduct from several women, which he denied.
As part of Reed’s apology last year, he stated that he will not run for a position in 2022. He joins 18 other House Republicans who have chose not to contest their seats in this year’s midterm elections later this year. On the Democratic side, 32 House members are not seeking reelection.
As early polls indicate, Republicans have the advantage over Democrats going into the election, and Reed’s seat is expected to remain in Republican hands throughout.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, who succeeded Cuomo as NY governor, did not immediately respond to questions about when she would set a date for a special election to fill Reed’s seat before November’s elections.
In addition to being a former mayor of Corning, New York, Reed was also a co-chairman in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus of the House of Representatives.
Although he voted against impeaching former President Donald Trump in January 2021, he voted in favor of certifying the election of Democratic candidate Joe Biden in 2020. With 57.7% of the vote in the 2020 election, Reed won a sixth term, outperforming the total vote in the district for former President Donald Trump.
Reed is the second Republican candidate in New York who isn’t planning to run in the upcoming election.
In early April, Rep. John Katko, of upstate New York, announced that he would not seek re-election to the House of Representatives. Katko was one of ten House GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump.