|Name||Paul D. Tonko|
Amsterdam, New York , United States
|| June 18, 1949
Jan 04, 2021 06:18am
|Info||Paul D. Tonko is a lifelong resident of the city of Amsterdam. He has served in the New York State Assembly, representing the 105th district, since April 1983 and in 2002 he was re-elected overwhelmingly. |
Assemblyman Tonko is a graduate of Clarkson University with a degree in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. At age 26, he was the youngest person in the history of Montgomery County elected to serve on the County's Board of Supervisors. He served as chairman of that body in 1981. Prior to his election to the Assembly in 1983, Mr. Tonko was employed as an engineer by the New York State Department of Transportation and served on the staff of the Department of Public Service.
Assemblyman Tonko has gained a national reputation as an expert on energy and utility issues. He is the author of comprehensive energy legislation that deregulates the electric industry in New York State and provides customers with the ability to choose their electricity providers. He serves on the National Council on Competition, and the Electric Industry's National Steering Committee, which provides guidance, insight, and review on energy policy. Since 1992, Mr. Tonko has served as the Chairman of the New York Assembly Standing Committee on Energy. Upon becoming chairman, he led the fight to repeal the six-cent law, eliminating artificial price controls on electricity production. He authored the Power for Jobs legislation, providing low-cost power to businesses across New York State.
Mr. Tonko was the Assembly's chief proponent of the College Tuition Savings Program, which allows families, while children are young, to save long-term by making modest investments that grow to help pay future college costs. This legislation was signed into law in September of 1997. He is a member of the Assembly Standing Committee on Education, where he has advocated for increased funding for school districts across upstate New York. In 1995, Mr. Tonko was named a friend of SUNY for his support of New York higher education.
Since 1990, Assemblyman Tonko has chaired the Assembly Task Force on the Mohawk Valley, which he created to aid in developing the region's agricultural and private sector economies. In addition, he is a strong advocate of using New York's natural resources, such as its rivers, lakes, and canals, as economic development tools to revitalize local communities and encourage recreational and tourism opportunities. He was appointed a Commissioner of the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission by Speaker Silver.
In addition, he is a member of the Assembly Standing Committees on Agriculture, Education and Transportation, as well as the former chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. He was a prime sponsor of the Northeast Dairy Compact. In 1992, he sought greater protection for active farm operations by sponsoring land use bills and amendments to New York's agricultural law. In 1991, he led the fight to ensure fair prices for New York's dairy farmers.
As a former member of the Environmental Conservation Committee, he worked to secure clean water legislation and, with citizens, successfully blocked the siting of a low-level toxic waste dump in the 105th district.
Assemblyman Tonko is an effective and vocal advocate on behalf of senior citizens. He has received honors from the Statewide Senior Action Coalition, and in 1993 from the New York State Weatherization Directors Association. In 1991, he was awarded the New York State Conference of Mayors' Legislative Award for his continuing commitment to local government issues. Assemblyman Tonko is known for his very active community involvement. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 209; BPOE, Lodge 101; The Kiwanis Club of Amsterdam; the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce; and Wildwood Programs. He is on the Boards of Directors for Hispanic Outreach Services; Horace J. Inman Senior Citizens Center; Montgomery County unit of the American Cancer Society; and the Red Cross. He is an Honorary Foundation Trustee of St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam, and an Honorary Member of the Amsterdam Waterfront Revitalization Committee.