WNY Reacts to Congressman Chris Lee's Resignation

6:19 PM, Feb 10, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - "Shocking is an understatement," said Bob Davis, former chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee. "I can't believe this has happened to Chris Lee."

Davis says Lee did the right thing by resigning.

"If Chris had decided to stay or stay for a period of time, I think it would have been a national issue for republicans," Davis said.

Not good after a big win for the GOP last November when it took the majority in the House of Representatives. It was a win that got Chris Lee an appointment on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

"What does this mean for Western New York because this was a very influential committee?" 2 On Your Side's Josh Boose asked Carl Calabrese, political analyst and former Town of Tonawanda Supervisor.

"It's a setback because people in Congress gave their eye-teeth to get on that committee," said Calabrese. "That's everybody first choice on their "A" list. So this is a setback."

Calabrese says there have been much bigger scandals in Washington before and lee could have stayed in office.

"So he could have ridden this out?" Boose asked.

"Unless there are more shoes to fall, that's certainly a possibility, we don't know yet," Calabrese said. "And unless this was the first step in repairing the family relationship with his wife which I think would be a logical conclusion as well."

Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy said he is "shocked and disappointed" in all this. When Boose asked him what republicans he can see running for Lee's seat he mentioned New York State Senators George Maziarz, Mike Ranzenhoffer and State Assembly Members Jane Corwin, Jim Hayes and Steve Hawley from Batavia.

Lee's sudden resignation is also a setback for families who lost a loved one in the crash of Flight 3407 two years ago. Channel 2 News talked to Jennifer West. Her husband Ernie died in the accident. We asked her what she thought of Wednesday's stunning event.

"He was instrumental in helping us get the Bill passed. I mean, you know without him and Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Higgins, we you know couldn't have got it done. So as far as that goes everybody makes mistakes. You know I don't know the full story you know, I just heard what everybody else heard, but that doesn't change my opinion of how he worked with us and he really became part of our family."

Related Stories:
 - Chris Lee resigns after shirtless photos surface
 - Chris Lee's Statement
 - What's next for the 26th Congressional District

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