Reed visits Dundee early in his new post
DUNDEE—Congressman Tom Reed is already hard at work in his district. On Saturday, Dec. 11, Reed took part in the Bradley-Jessop Post American Legion Auxiliary annual tree lighting ceremony. During the ceremony, Reed said, “This is what it’s all about.”
Following the ceremony, Reed took time to talk about his path to Washington. Reed is the youngest of 12 children. His father was career Army man who served in both WWII and Korea. Reed said, “Service was always part of our family.” Reed’s father was awarded the Silver Star as a 19-year-old for his actions in WWII. Originally from Corning, the family moved many times.
Reed’s father died when Reed was still very young. The family returned to their original home in Corning, moving into a house Reed’s grandfather built in 1922. Reed’s mother raised the last six children in the home. Reed still lives in that house with his family.
Reed said he always wanted to be a lawyer. He attended Alfred University where he was a member of the Division Three All American swim team. Reed could have remained at Alfred and coached swimming while he earned his master’s degree, but the pull of law school was stronger.
Reed said he applied to Ohio Northern University, but was put on a waiting list. At a friend’s suggestion he packed up his belongings and showed up at the dean’s office at Ohio Northern on the first day of classes. He got in.
After living in Rochester, Reed, his wife and two children returned to Corning. He established his law practice and also worked in property development and real estate. Politics entered his life when he disagreed with the philosophy of the mayor or Corning. Reed was elected mayor of Corning and served in that position from 2008 until 2010. The decision to run for Congress also arose from disagreement with some of the philosophies of Congressman Eric Massa. Reed said he worked with a group from Rochester who served as, “Kind of mentors. It went from there.” In November Reed won a special election to fill Massa’s unexpired term as well as a full term in Congress.
Changes in schedule are part of the learning curve and the experience according to Reed. The past weeks have been a bit unusual, possibly because of the upcoming end of the session. Reed expects to learn which committees he will be assigned to the week of Dec. 13.
Reed was asked which committees he is interested in and how the selection is made. He said it is based on interest and what would be best for the district. His choices are Transportation Infrastructure and Judiciary committees. The transportation committee interest comes from his knowledge that infrastructure in the district is “in very sorry condition.” Reed said, “I see it as a wise and prudent investment of Federal funds.” The Judiciary committee is a natural choice. Reed said, “I have talked to many in law enforcement. There is a significant drug problem.” He said the route between Rochester and New York City is moving into this area, Heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine are all problems. Reed said the drug problem leads to larcenies, murders and a general increase in crime. Reed would like to get Federal funds to get a Federal Judge to the Corning, Elmira and Hornell areas. Reed said Federal statutes, especially if weapons are used in commission of a crime, provide for significant penalties. A federal judge would make prosecution easier. Reed said, “It would put the hammer on some of those (criminals) coming here.”
The Reed family will not move to Washington during Reed’s term. He said, “This is home. I’m just going to work in Washington.” His children Will, age 10 and Autumn, age 12, attend the same parochial school Reed attended. Reed said there will be a set schedule with two weeks in Washington and one week in the district.
That time in the district is bound to be busy, as it was last week. After Reed attended the program at the Dundee American Legion, he was bound for Corning and it holiday celebration.