BioBrian Higgins currently serves as a Member of Congress representing Western New York. Brian represents New York’s 27th Congressional District, which includes a large portion of the city of Buffalo, most of eastern and southern suburban Erie County, and all of Chautauqua County.
Advocating For WNY's Economic Development
Brian is the region’s preeminent advocate for forward progress on economic development projects in Western New York. He was instrumental in securing a $279 million settlement from the New York Power Authority that is earmarked for development along Buffalo’s inner and outer harbor waterfront areas. Brian also played a critical role in gaining final approvals for the new $130 million dollar federal courthouse in downtown Buffalo and $3.72 million for work on the Jamestown train station and connector trail. Brian’s work has benefited dozens of additional public works initiatives from Cheektowaga south to the Pennsylvania line. The pressure he brought to bear on state government in 2006, including his threat to fight to withhold federal highway aid to the state, were credited by many as instrumental to the elimination of the toll barriers on the I-190 in the city of Buffalo, thus eliminating what was, in effect, a commuter tax upon residents of Buffalo’s suburban areas.
Championing National Issues
Brian is also a champion for national issues, and fights for those issues toward the specific benefit of Western New Yorkers. For example, Brian’s work as a member of the House’s Cancer Caucus increased levels of funding to support promising research and treatments for cancer not only serves to benefit those fighting cancer, it also benefits Western New York’s comprehensive Cancer Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute. From fighting for more adequate local staffing to address severe Social Security case backlogs, to his support for legislation to make college more affordable for working families, Brian’s efforts in Washington are constantly informed by the experiences he has with his constituents in Erie and Chautauqua Counties.
Passionate About Foreign Policy
Brian also has a deep interest in U.S. foreign policy. He has traveled extensively through some of the most volatile regions in the world and has met with world leaders to promote peace in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Africa, including Darfur.
Brian's Role in Congress
For the 112th Congress, Brian was appointed to the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he aims to position the Western New York border community in the forefront of national discussions and help to advance the Peace Bridge project and improve our border operations to strengthen economic ties with our Canadian neighbors.
Brian's appointment to the Committee on Foreign Affairs is timely given the existing conflicts in the Middle East and ongoing relations with China whose currency policies deeply affect the American economy.
Brian served on the Ways & Means Committee from 2009 through 2010, stepping down this month due to a change in the ratio of committee seats. He will maintain his seniority on the committee and rejoin it when seats become available. He served on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee Government & Oversight from 2005 through 2008.
Before Representing the 27th District
Previously, Brian served as a member of the New York State Assembly from 1999 through 2003, and prior to that as a member of the Buffalo Common Council, where in a 1993 Buffalo News survey he was named “Buffalo’s Best Councilmember.”
Brian was an instructor in the History and Economics departments at Buffalo State College, where he previously earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science. He also earned an advanced degree in Public Policy and Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Brian is the son of the late Daniel Higgins, Sr., a bricklayer, union leader, and statewide official, and Mary Higgins, a retired schoolteacher. Brian, his wife Mary Jane and their two children, John and Maeve, reside in South Buffalo, New York.