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Power Tool
Brian Higgins: WNY’s Enemy Within

Representative Brian Higgins has been hailed in Buffalo for his uncanny ability to score federal cash for Western New York. Four out of the five most recent press releases visible from his homepage are about pork for WNY (“Higgins Announces $4 Million More for Defense Projects,” “Higgins Announces $6 Million in Federal Funding for Electronic Warfare Training Simulators,” “Higgins Announces $500,000 for Main Street Bridge Design,” “Higgins Secures $100,000 for Brush Mountain Park”). All of this money is surely a boon for the local economy, but how is a first-term congressman bringing it down?

Simple: he’s selling his votes. At least that’s what we hope it is, because otherwise he’s just an ass.

This month alone, Higgins voted to increase fines for broadcast indecency tenfold, so that now, theoretically, a single poop joke can get a radio or TV show fined $325,000 (because, after all, a society crumbles when its people are allowed to talk openly about their lower bodies). And he voted against net neutrality.

There’s been some confusion regarding net neutrality, as the corporate interests involved have utilized general public distrust of government regulation to spread misinformation about it. But all net neutrality would do is keep the internet as it is, an equal-opportunity medium. The ease with which all can access any website has made the internet broadly diverse in a way that the conglomerate-dominated formats of television and radio cannot be. But Higgins voted against it, and against 78% of his fellow Democrats in the process. The bill passed in the House (luckily its prospects in the Senate are not very good). So, if he’s not selling his votes, Brian Higgins thinks the internet would be better if it worked more like cable TV. Anyone else feel that way?

As many know by now, these are not isolated incidents for Higgins, who has voted with the Republican majority and against the Democrats on many bills, ranging from vital to frivolous. He voted for the vile Bankruptcy bill. He voted for the pointless flag-burning amendment. He voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act. He voted yes on the ludicrously extralegal Terri Schiavo legislation. It’s obvious by now that if the Democrats want to win back a majority of House seats this election season, they had better win two extra to counteract Higgins’ future treachery.

As a fundraising politician, Higgins is proving quite adept. But as a representative of the political intent of those who voted him into office, he’s a cruel joke. Now, with his next election on the way, we’re caught in the Democratic Leadership Council’s triangulation trap—vote for more of this shameless betrayal, or even worse, for a Republican. Higgins is a textbook example of how the two-party system robs voters of the ability to adequately express their will.

Well, we’re not standing for it. We sure hope there’s a third choice for Higgins’ seat this November, because we’re not voting for him. But hey, he sure can bring home the bacon, huh? Just like Tom Reynolds.

 

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