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Editor’s corner: Taking pride in those who represent

Excellent local governmental representation that you can trust matters. On today’s opinion page is a piece by William Clinger, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represented Warren County.

How lucky we were to have him.

We also can take pride in U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson and state Rep. Kathy Rapp and Sen. Scott Hutchinson. They have always put us first — and have conducted themselves with high standards.

On the other side of the border — in Chautauqua County, there are reasons for concern. New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent allegations of harassment continue to surface with a new victim coming forward almost weekly.

It has tarnished what was, at this time last year, an excellent reputation. Cuomo had gained national respect for how he was handling the COVID-19 crisis, even from those who were not fond of how he ran the Empire State.

About one month ago, moderate U.S. Rep. Tom Reed also had allegations brought against him for sexual misconduct. Reed is Chautauqua County’s representative in the U.S. House.

Reed, however, did something most politicians do not. Within days of the harassment allegation by Nicolette Davis, a 25-year-old junior lobbyist, Reed did not try to deny or make excuses for the unfortunate event. Instead, he took full responsibility.

In a humbling statement, Reed said this: “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. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional,” he said. “I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility. I further apologize to my wife and kids, my family, the people of the 23rd District, my colleagues, and those who have supported me for the harm this caused them.”

Honesty is the best policy. Politicians across America are under tremendous pressures as they are well aware of the country’s divide.

They’re going to make mistakes. Hopefully, just like in Reed’s case, they own up to them.

John D’Agostino is the editor of the Times Observer, The Post-Journal and the OBSERVER in Dunkirk, N.Y. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call (716) 487-1111, ext. 253.

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