It made perfect sense to Tom Reed, R-Corning, to kick off his re-election campaign in Jamestown.
Chautauqua County is the latest addition to Reed's district. Hoping to touch base with constituents in the new 23rd Congressional district, the Corning Republican officially kicked off his re-election campaign Monday at Jamestown Community College. Reed said starting the campaign at a college in Chautauqua County was an easy choice.
"We wanted to send a message that Chautauqua County is a beautiful part of the district," he said. "It's home. I think it matches up with the rest of the district very well, so we wanted to start here as we do this six-stop tour.
Tom Reed begins 2012 re-election campaign
"Coming to the college was important, also, because we recognize that this economy in America right now is providing limited opportunity for folks coming out of college; coming out of higher-ed. And it's difficult to find jobs and that's what this whole election is going to be about."
Reed currently represents the 29th district in Congress, which spreads from Cattaraugus to Chemung counties and north to Monroe County.
Back in 2002, the Southern Tier Congressional district lost Chautauqua County to the 27th district, now represented by Rep. Brian Higgins, D-South Buffalo.
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, kicked off his re-election campaign for Congress during an early-morning speech at Jamestown Community College on Monday.
P-J photo by Eric Tichy
Reed said having Chautauqua County back in the Southern Tier district makes sense. He added that he plans to become a familiar face in Chautauqua County, alluding to former Rep. Amo Houghton.
"This is what Amo Houghton used to represent," he said. "He's a great friend of ours. Our families go way back."
Reed has already received the endorsement of the Chautauqua County Republican Committee, which backed the former Corning mayor and attorney well before he made his re-election announcement.
"Well, I'm very pleased that Chautauqua County is now in the Southern Tier district where it should have been all along," county Republican Committee Chairman Allan Hendrickson said to The Post-Journal.
"Congressman Reed is a popular congressman," he added. "I'm very pleased that he is the one, coming Jan. 1, that will be representing us, as I am positive of that. He's very knowledgeable and has the people at heart. And I'm very proud to help him."
Reed said Chautauqua County will be critical in the new Congressional district, and noted that getting familiar with the area is key to being a successful representative.
"This is a new district for us and we want to make sure people know who we are," he said.
Asked why he should return to Washington for a second term, Reed said, "It's simply this. I will put our work ethic, I will put our record up against anyone."
Reed will face one of three Democratic challengers for the 23rd Congressional seat; Nate Shinagawa, who won the endorsement of the county Democratic committee, is facing attorneys Leslie Danks Burke and Melissa Dobson in the June 26 primary.
The winner there will face Reed in the Nov. 6 general election.
"What I'm finding is that we are being warmly received over here," Reed said. "We've been here (for) a couple of events and just the energy in the room is just so very humbling. What we want to do is just make sure we send a message and show our firm belief that we're going to go everywhere in this district, because that's the job a being a representative."