Birthdate: June 18, 1949
Birth Place: Amsterdam, NY, United States
Residence: Amsterdam, NY
First Elected: 2008
State: New York
District: District 20
Paul Tonko was born in Amsterdam, N.Y., where he now resides. He earned a bachelor's in mechanical and industrial engineering in 1971 from Clarkson University.
Tonko worked as an engineer for the New York State Department of Transportation and also served on the staff of the Department of Public Service.
When he was 26, he was elected to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, where he served as chairman in 1981.
Tonko was elected to the state Assembly in 1983, serving until 2007. He was appointed president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency in July 2007.
Tonko was elected to the U.S. House in 2008.
He is single.
Paul Tonko has been a harsh critic of the Republican budget plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Tonko in one opinion piece claimed it would threaten Medicare and "shake the foundations of America's principles and priorities."
He worked to secure aid for the residents and farmers in his district after it was ravaged in 2011 by the tropical storms Irene and Lee.
As a new member of Congress in 2009, Paul Tonko voted for the approximately $800 billion economic stimulus plan that February. A month later, he voted to impose a 90 percent income tax on bonuses paid to individuals from financial companies that received a government bailout, including American International Group.
He voted in 2010 for the health care reform bill, the reform of financial industry regulations and the restoration of extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.
As a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Tonko helped administer grants to local communities for projects to reduce fossil fuel consumption and overall energy use.
He has proposed a comprehensive energy plan that would reduce the price of gasoline and fuel, establish a national speed limit of 65 mph, promote tax incentives for clean energy and conservation and create a national carbon-cap program for greenhouse gas emissions. He supports ending subsidies for big oil, increasing fuel efficiency standards and expanding access to affordable public transportation.
His Republican challenger in the 2012 general election is Bob Dieterich, a banker from the Schenectady area making his first run for public office.
The newly configured 20th District comprises most of Tonko's current district, including Albany, and continues to favor Democrats in terms of voter registration.
Source: Associated Press