WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. House of Representatives member Tom Reed (R-NY) has announced his resignation from Congress, ending a six-term tenure in Washington representing what was the 23rd Congressional District in New York, which includes Tompkins County.
Reed resigned in a brief speech on the floor of the House Tuesday afternoon. He had already announced last year that he would not seek another term in Congress after a sexual harassment allegation from 2017 emerged and Reed acknowledged a struggle with alcoholism. Reed subsequently said he didn’t remember the alleged harassment but apologized.
His term was set to last until the end of the year. The race to replace him has been jumbled by the ongoing redistricting circus. There are six months left until Election Day, so it is unclear if Reed’s seat will be filled by a temporary appointment or if it will sit empty until his successor is elected in November and inaugurated in January 2023.
“It has been an honor to serve with you all from both parties,” Reed said, according to The Hill. “I love this institution as it still exemplifies what is best about our government. We are the people’s house.”
A very early alignment with former President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign helped Reed to increased national prominence, as he became the first Congressional ally for Trump during his unlikely run to the presidency. Reed, who started out as a hardline conservative member before becoming slightly more moderate later in his term, was also a member of the powerful Ways & Means Committee in the House and the co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, founded in 2017.
Reed wasn’t exactly a frequent visitor to Ithaca, though his visits were often contentious. Two of those visits were perhaps most emblematic of that dynamic: a winter 2017 town hall-style event at Southside Community Center that saw hundreds of local residents, fueled by anger at then-new President Trump’s administration, line up outside of the community center to challenge Reed on healthcare policy; and an odd scene in October 2020 during which Reed unsuccessfully attempted to deliver an American flag to Ithaca’s City Hall, which was locked due to COVID-19 protocols at the time.
Another Reed visit in October 2020, this one a press conference outside of the Tompkins County GOP office in Ithaca, sparked a series of events that led to the pepper spray and arrest of several protesters outside of IPD.