BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he is giving consideration to the soon-to-be vacant congressional seat in New York’s 26th district, which Rep. Brian Higgins recently announced he will step down from in February.

While speaking at a Thanksgiving turkey drive event at City Hall on Friday, Brown said that if he could help be “a voice of reason” in a divided U.S. Congress, it’s something that he would look into.

“I’m certainly giving serious thought to it,” Brown said when asked about his interest in the seat. “It is something that I need to look at for the good of our country. … What we need in Congress today are more people who are problem solvers, more people who are centrists, people who are looking to solve problems rather than to fight with one another.”

Higgins announced he was stepping down from his post to take the job as president of Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Once he leaves Congress, Gov. Kathy Hochul must call for a special election, which would likely take place in April, with the winner sworn in shortly after. Each party is expected to nominate a candidate for the special election. A general election for the same seat will be held later next year on Nov. 5.

State Senator Tim Kennedy, a Democrat, has also been vocal about his interest in the vacancy.

“Senator Tim Kennedy is a very good friend,” said Brown, a fellow Democrat. “I’ve also worked very closely with Senator Kennedy. He is an excellent public official.”

Brown was re-elected to his record fifth term as mayor in 2021, winning as an write-in candidate after losing the primary election. Should he step down to pursue NY-26 or another position such as the presidency of Buffalo State University, which he has been heavily linked to, the Buffalo Common Council president would temporarily hold the mayoral office. The Board of Elections would conduct a formal election to fill the seat, likely taking place on the date of the next November general election.

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.