Reed apologizes, will not run for office again

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed speaks at a Dec. 14, 2020, news conference to introduce a bipartisan and bicameral COVID-19 relief bill.

MIKE HIBBARD [email protected]

In an era in which the usual mantra is “deny, deny, deny” among politicians, famous athletes and other celebrities when it comes to a scandal of any kind, Congressman Tom Reed is taking a different road.

Reed issued an apology to his accuser and announced he will not run for elected office again.

On Sunday, Reed, R-23 of Corning, responded to allegations of sexual misconduct on a political trip to Minnesota in 2017 by issuing a lengthy statement that followed a Washington Post article detailing those accusations by Nicolette Davis.

Davis, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army who at the time was an insurance lobbyist, said an intoxicated Reed put his hand on her back, unhooked her bra and touched her leg. That is according to an account she gave to the Post that Reed, on Friday, first claimed was inaccurate.

“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,” Reed said in the statement. “In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. 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.”

Reed said the incident happened when he was struggling with alcohol addiction, for which he later sought treatment.

“Second, I want to share that this occurred at a time in my life in which I was struggling,” Reed said. “Upon entering treatment in 2017, I recognized that I am powerless over alcohol. I am now approaching four years of that personal lifelong journey of recovery. With the support of my wife, kids and loved ones, professional help, and trust in a higher power, I continue that journey day-by-day. This is in no way an excuse for anything I’ve done. Consistent with my recovery, I publicly take ownership of my past actions, offer this amends and humbly apologize again to Ms. Davis, my wife and kids, loved ones, and to all of you.”

Reed was first elected to represent New York’s 29th Congressional District in 2010. Two years later, the state lost two seats in the House due to population changes, and much of the 29th became the 23rd, a sprawling district that includes 11 counties in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. The district includes all of Seneca and Yates counties and part of Ontario County, including Geneva.

In the last two elections, the most recent in November 2020, Reed defeated Democrat Tracy Mitrano of Penn Yan.

Reed said earlier this year he was considering a run for governor of New York in 2022. He has been a longtime critic of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is facing sexual harassment allegations of his own.

In his statement, however, Reed said he will not be running for any elected office in 2022. He said when first elected to Congress in 2010, he pledged to serve only six terms (12 years) and would retire from public service on Jan. 2, 2023.

“Third, I plan to dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions,” Reed said in the statement. “In addition to apologizing to those I have impacted, including Ms. Davis, I will be seeking to help those wrestling with addiction in any way I can. To others who may be struggling the way I have, please know that by seeking help your life will be forever changed in an extremely positive way. Though the journey is hard please know the rewards are amazing and you are worth it.

“As I go forward, I will strive to be a better human being, continue to fight for what I believe in, and to make people’s lives better in any way I can. I hope this formal apology is just the start.”

This article includes reporting by other media outlets.