New York Democrat sworn into House, diminishing GOP majority

Rep. Tim Kennedy (D-N.Y.) took his oath of office on the House floor on Monday, succeeding the recently retired Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) This transition leaves Republicans with a slim one-vote advantage for any partisan vote.

In the recent special election for New York’s 26th Congressional District, Kennedy emerged victorious over GOP candidate Gary Dickson. Kennedy, who had previously served as a state senator, secured the win and will now represent the district in Congress.

“I am deeply grateful for the chance that God has bestowed upon us to gather here in this moment,” he expressed on the floor after taking the oath. “It is an incredible and tremendous honor that the people of western New York have entrusted to me.”

The House of Representatives currently consists of 430 lawmakers, with 217 being Republicans and 213 being Democrats. This has resulted in a smaller majority for the Republican conference. Over the past few months, the margin has decreased as several Republican members have chosen to resign from their positions ahead of schedule.

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will be replaced in a special election on May 21, as his Central Valley district seeks to fill the vacancy.

Higgins made the decision to step down from his position in Congress in February. After serving in the House for almost twenty years, he felt that the dysfunction and sluggish progress in Washington, D.C. had become increasingly frustrating. Currently, he is the president and CEO of Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. Higgins was not alone in his decision to not seek re-election, as many other House members also expressed their frustration with the chaos that was unfolding on Capitol Hill.

The New York district stretches along the scenic Niagara River and encompasses vibrant cities like Buffalo and Niagara Falls. It was a tragic mass shooting incident in Buffalo in 2022 that compelled Kennedy to passionately advocate for gun safety measures in the New York State Senate.

Kennedy expressed his belief that the Buffalo-Niagara region embodies the character traits that define all Americans. He also stated that the community’s hope for achieving their greatest potential resonates with communities throughout the country.

Kennedy is set to complete Higgins’s term until January. Furthermore, Kennedy will be included in the ballot for a complete term in the upcoming November elections.

“I eagerly anticipate collaborating with you to bring about positive change in our country,” he expressed. “I have high hopes that we, as members of this chamber, can exhibit exemplary leadership on a global platform that will make our fellow Americans proud.”

Julia Mueller made a valuable contribution.

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