Congressman Paul D. Tonko is serving his second term in Congress representing the 21st District of New York. His district includes all of Albany, Schenectady, Montgomery and Schoharie Counties and parts of Saratoga, Rensselaer and Fulton Counties. Prior to serving in Washington, DC, Paul has nearly two and a half decades of administrative, legislative and policy experience from both the New York State Assembly from 1983 to 2007 and as President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) from 2007 to 2008.
Congressman Tonko is a nationally recognized expert on energy issues. He is a mechanical and industrial engineer by training. Prior to leaving the Assembly to join NYSERDA, Paul served as chairman of the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Energy. While there, he fought to protect consumers, tried to stop utility deregulation and worked to upgrade our aging electric grid. During his time at NYSERDA, Paul worked to advance an aggressive clean energy agenda for businesses and residents throughout New York State. Congressman Tonko has been a strong voice for responsible energy policy, using our generation capacity in Upstate New York for job growth, and leveraging the assets of the Capital Region to lead the nation in clean energy jobs and technology innovation.
In Congress, he is a member of the Natural Resources Committee - where he works to promote clean energy jobs and protect the environment.
Congressman Tonko is also a member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which merges his energy expertise with his environmental agenda. He is the Ranking Member on the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee - which has jurisdiction over all non-military federal research and development. Serving as well on the subcommittee on Energy and Environment Paul hopes to spur an environment where innovation and cutting-edge research and design spur economic development and job creation in the 21st Congressional District.
Building on his work in the New York State Assembly, where he fought for one of the nation's strongest mental health parity laws (known as "Timothy's Law"), Paul has always promoted fair and equitable health care policies that strengthen our communities and protect our most vulnerable citizens. He has been a strong advocate for protecting Medicare and ensuring the stability and longevity of Social Security.
Congressman Tonko also has strong ties to local government, which he sees as a crucial partner in delivering programs and services to constituents. At the age of 26, Paul was the youngest person in the history of Montgomery County to be elected to the county’s Board of Supervisors. Until 1981, he served as chairman of that body. Prior to his election to the Assembly in 1983, Paul was an engineer in the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and also served on the staff of the Department of Public Service (DPS). Paul has been a longtime member of the Public Employees Federation (PEF) and proudly serves as the first PEF member elected to Congress.
As an advocate for a “green economy” and “green-collar jobs”, Congressman Tonko has promoted wind development in Upstate New York and successfully lobbied GE to locate their growing GE Wind operations in Schenectady, NY.
Paul graduated from Clarkson University with an engineering degree. He is a lifelong resident of the city of Amsterdam, New York.