BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting Western New York for the second time in four months and community leaders say this is significant. They add that her visit shows that Buffalo is still a national priority to the White House.
During her visit, VP Harris will be discussing the Inflation Reduction Act, which was passed with the intent to reduce inflation, cut carbon emissions, and expand the Affordable Care Act program through 2025.
“One [visit] was steeped in tragedy. I think this is steeped in opportunity because from that tragedy we are all trying to do better. We are trying to make this city more inclusive, more equitable,” Congressman Brian Higgins says. “Buffalo is a place that was a center of manufacturing for nearly 100 years. Steel manufacturing, chemical manufacturing.”
The Vice President will discuss the Inflation Reduction Act at an event Wednesday, but there are very few details about where and when this will take place. It is also unclear if she will be making any other appearances during her visit.
Community leaders believe the Act will bring new economic opportunities to the City of Buffalo, including the East Side.
“To have that type of economic upturn and boon in this area will help this area of our community tremendously. Blight would be removed, homeownership would increase and that’s what’s needed in our community right now,” Rev. Mark Blue, president of the Buffalo NAACP chapter, added.
Rev. Blue hopes some of the Federal dollars will support East Buffalo, bringing new technology jobs to neighborhoods that he says, historically, have been overlooked.
“There’s nothing in terms of manufacturing in there. The jobs that are located in there are some mom and pop stores, some gas stations. We don’t have anything high tech, anything industrial in the community,” Rev. Blue continued.
Congressman Higgins says this act is a response, in part, to the Tops mass shooting. Community advocates say these jobs are much needed in the Queen City.
Rev. Blue says his family members, including his parents, worked at the Bethlehem Steel Plant in Lackawanna. He hopes modern manufacturing can provide similar economic opportunities to residents.
“There are plenty of areas to where manufacturing can be and we are looking for that opportunity. Buffalo is looking for that opportunity,” Rev. Blue continued.
The Vice President’s office did not release many details about her trip.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.