Republican New York Congressman Tom Reed (NY) announced this week that he was resigning his position immediately, as the Associated Press reported, and though it was previously known that he did not plan to seek reelection in the wake of a sexual misconduct claim lodged against him last year. His abrupt and premature departure still came as something of a surprise.
In making his decision public on the House floor on Wednesday, Reed did not specify a reason for the move, but will reportedly be joining bipartisan lobbying firm Prime Policy Group, located in Washington, D.C.
“It has been an honor to serve with you all from both parties,” Reed told his colleagues. “I love this institution as it still exemplifies what is best about our government, we are the People’s house. While I am proud that we put people before politics, there is much more to do.”
Reed’s congressional career hit a major obstacle in March of 2021 when he was accused by a young, female lobbyist of inappropriate sexual conduct that was said to have occurred at a Minneapolis networking event a few years prior, as CBS News reported at the time.
The woman at the center of the claim, Nicolette Davis, told the Washington Post last year that a seemingly intoxicated Davis rubbed her back, touched her leg and unhooked her bra, while seated next to her at the gathering.
According to Davis, she texted a colleague in real time, saying, “A drunk congressman is rubbing my back. HELP HELP,” and soon after, Reed was pulled out of the restaurant by someone who came to the then-25-year-old’s aid.
Ultimately, Reed expressed contrition for what was described in the Post, saying, “First, I apologize to Nicolette Davis. Even though I am only hearing of this matter as stated by Ms. Davis in the article now, I hear her voice and will not dismiss her. In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant.”
The now-former congressman continued, saying, “I want to share that this occurred at a time in my life in which I was struggling. Upon entering treatment in 2017, I recognized that I am powerless over alcohol,” but added that [t]his is in no way an excuse for anything I’ve done.”
Now, it will be up to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to announce when a special election might be held to fill the vacancy created by Reed, but indications are that it will likely take place in late July or early August.