WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Rep. Tom Reed prepares to witness history, he notes that attending a presidential inauguration is an opportunity he did not imagine for himself when he was growing up.

“Being the youngest of twelve and being raised by a single mom essentially my entire life, I never thought I’d be in the position that I am in today,” said Reed, representative for the 23rd Congressional District which includes the Greater Olean area. “I humbly serve in this role and try to be the voice for the 700,000 people we represent.”

After the November election, Reed was selected by President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to serve as a vice chair on the presidential transition team, an “honor,” which he noted, has given him an opportunity to be heard.

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“I’m going to use our position in both camps to be a bridge between the Hill and the White House to advance the legislative agenda that I came here in 2010 to achieve,” Reed said during Thursday’s conference call with reporter. “These are things like tax reforms, health care replacement, getting spending in the national debt under control and getting the country going again as vibrant, and producing opportunities for generations to come.”

Reed said he is optimistic about Trump’s upcoming presidency and believes it will provide opportunities for people to succeed for generations to come.

“As this new administration comes into take office, I believe it represents a fresh start,” Reed said. “I believe it represents an opportunity, and I believe it is an opportunity that is going to, for the first time in a long time, listen to the American people and put the interest of the American people first and foremost in every decision-making process that Washington, D.C., engages in.”

Specifically, Reed believes that Trump’s presidency will provide Western New York with the chance to rebuild the manufacturing that the 23rd Congressional District had been known for in the past.

“I believe we are going to be able to see this in our backyard, and that is going to provide some relief and give people that opportunity that I know they’re striving towards,” he said.

Reed expressed his disappointment in those who have decided to skip the inauguration. He said he believes such individuals must put their objections aside and come together.

“I think that is a healthy approach and it is something that has served me well in my life,” the congressman noted. “It is something I’ll bring to the table and go forward and deal with individuals that so choose not the attend the inauguration.”

Reed said that even though many people have spoken ill of Trump, the president-elect has continued to reach out to those individuals and to move forward with planning.

“I do believe that he is sincere and that if someone wants to set aside and advance a common interest that they both share, he will be willing to do it because it is the American people and outcome and the benefits for them that he is trying to advance,” Reed said. “I believe he is committed to that type of governing style.”

Noting that the pre-inauguration atmosphere has been both hectic and full of energy, Reed said, “There is a lot of passion that is being put out on display, and it’s the passion of the American spirit that keeps us vibrant and going in the right direction.”

He said he looks forward to Friday’s festivities and the Trump presidency.

“The most important thing I am looking forward to is being a part of the solution that is going to get America moving in the right direction and provide opportunities for the American people,” he said.