BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York's 26th Congressional District has been without a representative for more than two months.

When Democrat Brian Higgins stepped down in February to take over as president of Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, he said it was in fact Congress that had become more about dramatics then results. Both candidates who are vying to finish his term agree.

"Washington's a mess. There's no doubt about that. What I'm going to do is go down there and work to fix it and I've done it before. When I was elected to the state Senate back in 2010, my mantra was change Albany," Democrat Tim Kennedy said.

Republican Gary Dickson said he feels "fed up" with what's going on in Washington as well.

"Nothing seems to get done. People just seem to want to argue with each other and I think we have it in us to solve many of our problems and I think I'm the guy to do it in this race," he said.

However, the candidates have different ideas about what needs to get done. Last year, when Kennedy announced he was running for the seat he said some of the primary issues he's focusing on in this election are the saturation of illegal guns and women's abortion rights in America.

"We need to make sure that we are doing everything in our power to protect our community, to make our community safe, to grow our economy, to protect a woman's right to choose and to ensure that future generations like my wife and I's three children here and other families have the best possible community to live, work and raise a family," Kennedy said.

Dickson, meanwhile, said the country needs to make changes to its border laws, reconsider policies that make it more difficult for police to do their jobs, address government spending and debt, and make sure children in disadvantaged circumstances get better educations.

"I think it's unbelievable that in the 21st century we're still arguing about how to teach kids how to read. I think we need to think differently about these issues," he said.

Both candidates tout their experience although they have significantly different resumes. Kennedy, a former occupational therapist who also was in the Erie County Legislature, has been a member of the state Senate since 2011 and is currently the chair of the influential Transportation Committee.

Dickson is an Army veteran, a retired FBI special agent and the current Town of West Seneca supervisor, a combination he said gives him a unique perspective.

Early voting starts Saturday and Election Day is Tuesday, April 30.