Local congressmen offer thoughts on Inauguration Day

Jan 20, 2017

Two Western New York Republican members of Congress are among those looking forward with excitement to today's inauguration of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America. Meanwhile, while many Democrats have indicated they'll skip the proceedings, one Buffalo-area Democrat says he'll be there.

Congressman Chris Collins, the Clarence Republican who was the first in the House to endorse Trump, was an invited guest of a pre-inauguration dinner last night and will be one of an estimated 40 Western New Yorkers expected at the official inaugural ball today.

Credit NPR via Drew Angerer/Getty Images


In an interview with WBFO earlier this week, Collins was asked about the Donald Trump he knows more intimately than the general public. When asked if there's something about the President-Elect that might surprise people, Collins said Trump, while in meetings, is more a listener and does not dominate the discussion.

"He does not do much of the talking," Collins said. "He does a lot of listening and then he'll probe with a question to start some controversy where people can disagree with each other, argue pros and cons and he is then taking notes. He'll make the ultimate decision but he really enjoys, call it vigorous debate, where he is not the dominant person."

Republicans, who now hold the majority in both houses of Congress, have already been at work putting their agenda into motion. That includes the piece-by-piece dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and vowing to have a replacement in place by 2019. Tax reform is also on the GOP's agenda as Trump takes office. 

As for Trump's desires as he settles in? Congressman Tom Reed, a Republican whose district spans the Southern Tier of New York State, hopes to hear some of Trump's general philosophy during his inauguration address.

"He can give us this thoughts as to how he is going to proceed in a way that makes America the priority that it needs to be for the foreseeable future, in anything and everything that we do," Reed said.

Dozens of Democratic representatives, including Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, have vowed to skip Friday's proceedings. Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins, though, is not among them.

"The peaceful transition of power is a deeply held democratic tradition," Higgins said. "You either believe in it or you don't."

Higgins told WBFO he did not have any conversations with fellow Democrats opting to boycott about their respective decisions, stating it was none of his business. In the meantime, after witnessing Friday's events he will look forward to returning to work.

"Come Monday, we can move out of the end zone and get on the playing field and fight hard for Western New Yorkers of all political persuasions," Higgins said.

"But it's appropriate that members of Congress be here. This is part of our democratic tradition, so I'll be here."