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Area's Congressional Delegation on First Day of 110th Congress

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The four members of Western New York's congressional delegation returned to Washington yesterday for the opening of the 110th Congress. Two of the representatives are now in the majority. The other two now find themselves as minority party members.

The region's most influential congressional representative is now Democrat Louise Slaughter. She's chair of the powerful Rules Committee. Thursday, Slaughter delivered an opening day speech on the House floor, introducing the Democratic majority's new rules and ethics package. She said Democrats will put honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability ahead of everything else. But fellow congressman Randy Kuhl, now a member of the Republican minority, says he is seeing no evidence of that.

Buffalo Democrat Brian Higgins characterized Kuhl's criticism of the new House majority as partisan rhetoric. He says all members have an obligation to work in a bipartisan manner.

Republican Congressman Thomas Reynolds of Clarence continues to keep a low profile. Reynolds was part of the House leadership in the last Congress, and was caught up in the controversy surrounding the Mark Foley scandal, barely winning re-election.

His office released a statement Thursday saying he'll continue to fight for issues important to the region such as creating new jobs. Reynolds may not have the influence he once had. But he is still a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has legislative authority over economic policy, taxes and Social Security.