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Democrat

Rep. Brian Higgins (D)

Brian Higgins Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-3306

Address: 2459 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (716) 852-3501

Address: 726 Exchange Street, Buffalo NY 14210-1484

Niagara Falls NY

Phone: (716) 282-1274

Fax: (716) 282-2479

Address: 640 Park Place, Niagara Falls NY 14301

Brian Higgins Staff
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Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Honard, Victoria
Legislative Correspondent
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Honard, Victoria
Legislative Correspondent
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Honard, Victoria
Legislative Correspondent
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Honard, Victoria
Legislative Correspondent
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Honard, Victoria
Legislative Correspondent
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Honard, Victoria
Legislative Correspondent
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Corbett, Megan
District Director
Coughlin, Donna
Senior Caseworker
Eaton, Chuck
Chief of Staff
Fahey, Chris
Senior Policy Advisor
Finnegan, Rick
Field Representative
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Honard, Victoria
Legislative Correspondent
Kennedy, Theresa
Communications Director
Koch, Walt
Senior Caseworker
Lockwood, Bonnie
Director of Special Projects
Macri, Suzanne
Niagara County Director
O'Connor, Julia
Scheduler; Staff Assistant
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Fahey, Chris
Senior Policy Advisor
Coughlin, Donna
Senior Caseworker
Koch, Walt
Senior Caseworker
Eaton, Chuck
Chief of Staff
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Kennedy, Theresa
Communications Director
Corbett, Megan
District Director
Lockwood, Bonnie
Director of Special Projects
Macri, Suzanne
Niagara County Director
Brady, Leslie
Legislative Assistant
Burns, Carol
Legislative Assistant
Grossman, David
Senior Legislative Assistant
Honard, Victoria
Legislative Correspondent
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Tantillo, Andy
Washington Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Press Secretary
Finnegan, Rick
Field Representative
O'Connor, Julia
Scheduler; Staff Assistant
O'Connor, Julia
Scheduler; Staff Assistant
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Brian Higgins Committees
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Brian Higgins Biography
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  • Elected: 2004, 5th term.
  • District: New York 26
  • Born: Oct. 06, 1959, Buffalo
  • Home: Buffalo
  • Education:

    S.U.N.Y. Buffalo, B.A. 1984, M.A. 1985, Harvard U. M.P.A. 1996

  • Professional Career:

    Chief of staff, Erie Cnty. Leg., 1994-98; Lecturer, Buffalo State College, 2000-03.

  • Political Career:

    Buffalo City Cncl., 1987-93; NY Assembly, 1998-2004.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Catholic

  • Family: Married (Mary Jane); 2 children

Democrat Brian Higgins, elected in 2004, devotes his energies to reviving the Buffalo area’s economy, from working to get money for a new federal courthouse to securing grants to help the local wine industry. Read More

Democrat Brian Higgins, elected in 2004, devotes his energies to reviving the Buffalo area’s economy, from working to get money for a new federal courthouse to securing grants to help the local wine industry.

Higgins grew up in Buffalo, the son of a skilled tradesman who was prominent in local politics, serving on the Buffalo City Council and later as commissioner of the New York State Workers Compensation Board. His mother was a schoolteacher. Higgins graduated from Buffalo State College and later got a master’s degree from Harvard. A political junkie, he launched his career in government with staff jobs in the Erie County sheriff’s office, the state Assembly, and the county legislature. In 1993, after six years on the Buffalo City Council, he ran for county comptroller and lost. In 1998, he was elected to the Assembly and served three terms. In a district crowded with unionized workers, Higgins often reminded voters that his father and uncle were bricklayers and stressed his Irish immigrant heritage.

A House seat unexpectedly opened up in 2004, when Republican Rep. Jack Quinn announced he was retiring after 12 years. Nancy Naples, a former Merrill Lynch executive in Manhattan and a popular local figure with strong name recognition, quickly wrapped up the Republican nomination, while five Democrats battled for their party’s nomination. Higgins was the favorite of local and national Democratic leaders, organized labor, and The Buffalo News, which called him “an unusually productive member of a largely dysfunctional legislative body” in Albany. He won the primary with 44% of the vote.

In the contentious general election, Higgins reminded voters that Naples supported many of President George W. Bush’s policies and criticized Republicans for shifting the tax burden from the rich to the middle class. He also ran on a platform of making health care more widely available. Naples criticized Higgins for supporting tax increases in Albany. Higgins won 51%-49%, about a 3,800-vote victory.

In the House, Higgins established a centrist voting record with a liberal bent on economic issues. Hoping to kick off a debate about the importance of infrastructure, he introduced a bill in April 2012 calling for $1.25 trillion to be spent over five years to rebuild roads, bridges, railroads, ports, and airports. “This isn’t a stimulus bill, it’s a nation-building bill,” he told The News. “It’s rebuilding this country as we’ve rebuilt other countries—Iraq and Afghanistan—in recent years.” He helped create, and co-chairs, a Revitalizing Older Cities Task Force and also has sought tax credits to transform older neighborhoods.

After spending his first years securing his hold on the seat with an array of mostly successful efforts for his district, he was rewarded with a seat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee in 2009. He initially vowed to oppose the December 2010 deal to extend the expiring Bush-era tax cuts because it would not extend the Renewal Communities program, which had brought $150 million in development to the district. He also criticized Republicans’ insistence on including tax cuts for the wealthy. But he said, “The cost of inaction would be far worse for western New York families and seniors.” He eventually voted for the deal. After the Republican takeover of the House in 2011, the number of Democratic seats on Ways and Means was reduced, and Higgins was forced off the committee. He took seats on the Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees.

Since developing skin cancer, Higgins has worked heavily on cancer research, introducing bills to establish a national cancer trust fund and pushing for money for Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He helped to broker an agreement with the New York Power Authority for local financial aid, including waterfront improvements, in exchange for its long-term right to operate the Niagara Power Project. The issue strained his relationship with Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter in a nearby district, who disagreed with his strategy.

In the national debate over gun control, Higgins has sided with gun owners, voting in favor of a February 2011 amendment to block federal efforts to demand reports from gun dealers on sales of multiple semi-automatic rifles. But after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre in December 2012, he called for “meaningful reforms” to gun laws.

Higgins has been reelected easily. He initially was concerned about the 2010 reapportionment, in which New York lost two House seats. He reportedly hired a lobbyist in 2011 to help him on the issue and donated $18,000 to the New York State Assembly Campaign Committee. He ended up with a heavily Democratic district and coasted to reelection in 2012 with 75% of the vote.

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Brian Higgins Election Results
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2012 General
Brian Higgins (D)
Votes: 212,588
Percent: 74.79%
Michael Madigan (R)
Votes: 71,666
Percent: 25.21%
2012 Primary
Brian Higgins (D)
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (61%), 2008 (74%), 2006 (79%), 2004 (51%)
Brian Higgins Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 91 (L) : - (C) 63 (L) : 37 (C) 71 (L) : 29 (C)
Social 87 (L) : 7 (C) 68 (L) : 32 (C) 61 (L) : 39 (C)
Foreign 88 (L) : 12 (C) 81 (L) : 19 (C) 70 (L) : 28 (C)
Composite 91.2 (L) : 8.8 (C) 70.7 (L) : 29.3 (C) 67.7 (L) : 32.3 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC00
LCV9189
CFG320
ITIC-58
NTU1420
20112012
COC38-
ACLU-84
ACU40
ADA8080
AFSCME100-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
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