Paul Tonko — Wikipedia Republished // WIKI 2
Live Statistics
English Articles
Improved in 24 Hours
Added in 24 Hours
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paul Tonko
Paul Tonko 114th Congress photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 20th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byChris Gibson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 21st district
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byMichael R. McNulty
Succeeded byBill Owens
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 105th district
In office
April 1983 – June 2007
Preceded byGail S. Shaffer
Succeeded byGeorge A. Amedore Jr.
Personal details
Born (1949-06-18) June 18, 1949 (age 71)
Amsterdam, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationClarkson University (BS)
WebsiteHouse website

Paul David Tonko (/ˈtɒŋk/; born June 18, 1949) is the U.S. Representative from New York's 20th congressional district, a post he has held since 2009. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, numbered as the 21st for his first two terms, is located in the heart of the Capital District and includes Albany, Schenectady and Troy. Tonko previously represented the 105th District in the New York Assembly from 1983 to 2007.

Tonko was president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, from 2007 until his resignation on April 25, 2008.[1] He soon after declared his candidacy for Congress and was first elected in 2008.

Early life, education, and early career

Tonko is a lifelong resident of Amsterdam, New York, near Schenectady, and is of primarily Polish descent.[2] He graduated from Amsterdam's Wilbur H. Lynch High School in 1967, and received a degree in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from Clarkson University in 1971.

After college, Tonko worked as a public works engineer, and was employed as an engineer with the state transportation agency. He also became active in politics and was elected to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors. He was a member of the board from 1976 to 1983, and served as its chairman from 1981 to 1983. Tonko was the youngest person in county history to be elected to the board of supervisors.

New York Assembly (1983-2007)

In January 1983, Assemblywoman Gail S. Shaffer resigned her 105th District seat to take office as Secretary of State of New York. Tonko was subsequently nominated by the Democratic and Liberal Parties to contest an April 12th special election for the seat against former Schoharie County Clerk Eugene Hallock, the Republican and Conservative nominee. Tonko defeated Hallock in a close race.[3][4] Tonko was re-elected thirteen times, serving in the Assembly until 2007.

While in the Assembly, Tonko served as the Chairman of the Committee on Energy, a position he held from 1992 until retirement. Tonko was also a member of standing committees on Agriculture, Transportation and Education, where he was the original sponsor and a chief proponent of the College Tuition Savings Program that was signed into law in 1997.[5]

Tonko was a major advocate of "Timothy's Law" to require health insurers to cover mental illness.[6]

Tonko was a chief sponsor of the Northeast Dairy Compact,[7] and the Chairman of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources,[8] He was appointed by Speaker Sheldon Silver to serve as Commissioner for the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission.[citation needed]

Tonko resigned his seat on June 29, 2007, to become President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

CEO of NYSERDA (2007-2008)

Tonko was President and CEO of NYSERDA from 2007 to 2008, when he resigned to run for U.S. Representative.

U.S. House of Representatives (2008-present)



Tonko entered the 2008 Democratic Primary for New York State's 21st Congressional District after 10-term incumbent Michael McNulty (with whom he served in the State Assembly from 1983 to 1989) decided to retire.[9] Despite having less money than both his main rivals, Tonko won the primary on September 9, 2008 with a plurality of 40% of the vote.[10][11] He ran against Republican James Buhrmaster, a Schenectady County legislator, in the general election.[11]

The 21st had long been the most Democratic district in the state outside of the New York City districts and Western New York. At the time, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in registration in the district by a count of 174,054 to 119,493, with 101,219 not enrolled in any party and a total of 428,655 Voters Registered as of March 1, 2008. It was generally believed that Tonko had assured himself of a seat in Congress with his victory in the primary.

On November 4, 2008, Tonko won in a landslide, with over 60% of the total vote.[12] "Tonko's name recognition ... accomplishment in the Legislature, such as the passage of mental health parity legislation, and his record" contributed to his win.[12] According to preliminary figures the day after the election, he beat Burhmaster by 105,313 to 57,086, with Philip Steck, a minor party candidate, receiving 5,025 votes.[12]


In 2010, Tonko ran for re-election on the Democratic, Working Families and Independence Party lines. He was challenged by Republican and Conservative Party nominee Ted Danz, a former United States Navy Reservist and small business owner in the cooling and heating business. Congressional Quarterly rated the race as "Safe" for the incumbent party to keep the seat.[13] Tonko raised almost $980,000, and spent almost $780,000 on his campaign; Danz raised about $44,000 and spent about $42,000 for his own campaign.[14][15] The seat was rated by The New York Times as being "Solid Democratic" with "99.8 %" to "100 % chance" that Tonko would win the seat.[15] The major issues in the 2010 race were Tonko's "yes" votes for the Health Care Bill, the Stimulus Package (ARRA), and the Energy Bill.[15] The Albany Times Union endorsed Tonko in that race, citing "a way of thinking and speaking like the engineer that he once was" and his support of the economic stimulus bill and health care bills.[16]

Tonko won the general election on November 2, 2010, by a vote of 124,889 to 85,752.[17]


Tonko was challenged by Republican Bob Dieterich, senior vice president at First National Bank of Scotia. Former Tonko opponent Jim Buhrmaster cited Albany, particularly the city, as the biggest challenge for a Republican contender. He added, however: "People are voting more independently, and they're not registering Republican or Democratic."[18] Tonko won re-election with about 62% of the vote.


Tonko was challenged by Jim Fischer in the November 2014 election. He won his fourth term with 59% of the vote.[19]


Tonko was challenged by Francis Joe Vitollo in the November 2016 election. He won his fifth term with 68% of the vote.


Tonko was challenged by Vitollo again in 2018. He won his sixth term with 66% of the vote.


Tonko was one of the 19 most liberal House members, according to the National Journal, for 2011.[20]

When he entered Congress, Tonko said he wanted to focus on the issue he said he knows best – energy policy.[21] He sponsored a bill to get $800 million research program in wind energy technologies, which would benefit GE in his district. He also wanted to create a research program to improve the efficiency of gas turbines used in power generation systems that convert heat into energy. In 2010, Tonko got a provision in a House-passed bill, following the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, to prevent future spills and help small businesses in spill research. In 2011, he sponsored an amendment seeking to protect the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate carbon emissions.[22]

He is strongly against expanding the Bush-era tax cuts for high-income earners. Among other key votes, he voted for the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010,[23] Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,[24] American Clean Energy and Security Act,[25] and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[26] He voted against the Republicans' budget.[27]

Tonko has contributed blog posts to the Huffington Post, with many sharply criticizing the Republican Party, including their "budget hypocrisy" and the threat they pose to Social Security. He praised the 2011 State of the Union address, saying: "the President set out a bold agenda for our nation, an agenda that will focus on growing our economy, growing jobs, and growing opportunity for the middle class".[28] On numerous occasions, he has also warned of the threat that would allegedly be posed by the healthcare repeal to small businesses, to young people, and to seniors.[29]

Tonko has also worked to raise awareness about the region's waterways, chiefly the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, and the effects of recent flooding following Hurricane Irene. Seeking a comprehensive flood mitigation and economic development strategy, Tonko introduced the Hudson-Mohawk Basin Act in 2012.[30]

He was actively involved in floor debates against the United States federal government shutdown of 2013.

Tonko became a prominent opponent of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in 2015, citing American trade deficits and the use of child labor by at least four countries who had already signed the pact as among his reasons for opposing the deal.[31]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Tonko is a member of more than 65 cacuses in his capacity as United States Representative. Below is a small sample of his memberships:

See also


  1. ^ "Tonko resigns from NYSERDA". Albany Business Review. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2014-10-31. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Fowler, Glenn (April 13, 1983). "STATE SENATOR TO BE CHOSEN IN QUEENS". The New York Times.
  4. ^ STAVISKY WINS RACE FOR STATE SENATE; ...PaulTonko, of Amsterdam, a Democrat, was the winner... in The New York Times on April 13, 1983
  5. ^ Eaton, Leslie (December 6, 1998). "New Yorkers Rush to Invest In College Plan". The New York Times. New York, New York. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  6. ^ "Senate Passes "Timothy's Law" to Provide Mental Health Parity" (Press release). The Senate Republican Majority. September 15, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Lamendola, Michael (November 5, 2008). "Tonko wins to succeed McNulty". The Daily Gazette. Schenectady, New York. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  8. ^ "Tonko speaking at SUNY Cobleskill". The Daily Star. Oneonta, New York. May 18, 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved January 15, 2009. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  9. ^ New York State Board of Elections website list of candidates. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY District 21 - D Primary Race - Sep 09, 2008". Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  11. ^ a b Lauren Stanforth, "It's Tonko in 21st: Democrat will face Buhrmaster," September 10, 2008, found at Times Union website
  12. ^ a b c Standforth, Lauren, and Carol Demare, "Tonko cruises to win in 21st Congressional District: Democrat goes to D.C. with handy win over Buhrmaster", November 5, 2008, found at Election coverage[permanent dead link]. Retrieved November 5, 2008.
  13. ^ Race ranking and details from CQ Politics. Accessed December 20, 2010.
  14. ^ Campaign contributions from Accessed December 20, 2010.
  15. ^ a b c Race profile at The New York Times. Accessed December 20, 2010.
  16. ^ Editorial, "Paul Tonko for Congress," Albany Times Union, October 27, 2010. Found at Times Accessed December 20, 2010.
  17. ^ New York State Board of elections official returns for November 2, 2010. Accessed December 20, 2010.
  18. ^ "PaulTonko gains a challenger". Times Union. 6 March 2012.
  19. ^ "PaulTonko - Ballotpedia". Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  20. ^ "Most Liberal House Members -- PICTURES". National Journal. February 23, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved March 12, 2012. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  21. ^ "Rep. PaulTonko (D)". The National Journal. Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  22. ^ "Rep. PaulTonko (D-NY, 21st District)". Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2018-10-08. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ "GOP 2012 Budget Plan". The Washington Post.
  28. ^ Tonko, Paul (January 27, 2011). "State of the Union Response". The Huffington Post.
  29. ^ "Rep. PaulTonko". The Huffington Post.
  30. ^ LeBrun, Fred. "Tonko bill casts wide river net".
  31. ^ "Trade official boosts Trans Pacific Partnership, but U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko, labor have doubts". 8 April 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  32. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

External links

New York State Assembly
Preceded by
Gail S. Shaffer
Member of the New York Assembly
from the 105th district

Succeeded by
George A. Amedore Jr.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Michael R. McNulty
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 21st congressional district

Succeeded by
Bill Owens
Preceded by
Chris Gibson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 20th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Glenn Thompson
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Mike Quigley
This page was last edited on 20 November 2020, at 23:12
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.