Paul Tonko is a Democratic congressman who represents the 20th district of New York, which includes Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs. He has been in Congress since 2009, and before that he served in the New York State Assembly for 24 years. He is an engineer by training and has a degree from Clarkson University.
Tonko is a leader on issues related to addiction and mental health, climate, energy, and environment, consumer protection and commerce, and healthcare. He has authored and passed many bills that have become law, such as expanding access to opioid addiction treatment, phasing out harmful chemicals, banning ticket scalping bots, improving access to rare disease drugs, and securing N95 masks for healthcare workers.
Tonko serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the oldest standing committee in the House, and is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials. He also serves on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. He co-chairs the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition and the Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus.
Tonko is a lifelong resident of Amsterdam, New York, near Schenectady, and is of Polish descent. He was the youngest person in county history to be elected to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, where he served from 1976 to 1983. He was also the president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority from 2007 to 2008.
Congressman Paul Tonko has been a key player in passing various laws that benefit his district and the country during his time in the House of Representatives. He has worked on many important issues, such as addiction and mental health, climate, energy, environment, consumer protection, and more. Some of his notable achievements are:
- Making it easier for people with opioid addiction to get treatment and for providers to prescribe medication-assisted treatments like buprenorphine.
- Pushing for a better system of crisis care for people with mental health and substance use disorders.
- Supporting the search for an Alzheimer’s cure and expanding Medicare coverage for care planning services for Alzheimer’s patients.
- Promoting the use of clean energy technologies, such as floating solar panels and wind turbines, and offering incentives for clean energy innovation.
- Eliminating harmful chemicals like hydrofluorocarbons, improving regulatory processes, and providing funding for cleaning up polluted sites.
- Protecting consumers by outlawing bot software used for ticket scalping, increasing penalties for illegal radio broadcasting, and tackling doping in sports.
- Improving healthcare access, including enhancing the FDA review process for rare disease drugs and securing N95 respirators for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Focusing on veterans’ health by tracking health issues related to service at Fort McClellan.
- Increasing funding for National Heritage Areas like the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
- Enacting legislation to honor significant figures from the Capital Region.
- Leading reforms in limousine safety following the 2018 Schoharie limousine disaster.
- Enhancing public safety measures, including improving conditions at truck stops and reauthorizing security measures for facilities holding dangerous chemicals.
- Expanding broadband internet access to underserved areas and promoting technological advancements in the United States, including a focus on artificial intelligence and microelectronics development.
- Increasing funding to address water infrastructure needs and ensuring communities meet federal drinking water standards.