Paul Tonko

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This is a profile of a freshman U.S. Representative in the 111th Congress. (See the New York portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
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Paul Tonko is currently serving the 21st Congressional District of New York.

Paul Tonko has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 21st district of the State of New York, since 2009 (map).

Positions, record and controversies

Budget and spending

Paul Tonko says he will maintain spending on agriculture, arts, international aid, federal law enforcement, space exploration and the United Nations. He will slightly increase spending on educaton, FEMA, homeland security, state law enforcement, medical research, national parks and welfare, and slightly decrease spending on national defense. Tonko also says he would greatly increase spending on the environment, public health services, scientific research and transportation and infrastructure. [1]


Tonko has indicated that he will greatly decrease taxes for those making less than $100,000, maintain taxes on those making between $100-000 - $180,000, slightly increase taxes on those making between $180,000- $350,000 and greatly increase taxes for those of $350,000. He also says he will maintain the taxes on alcohol and gasoline, greatly increasing the tax on capital gains and slightly increasing taxes on cigarettes, corporations, and inheritances. He will also maintain the charitable contribution deduction, medical expense deduction and mortgage deduction, while increasing the child tax credit, earned income tax credit and student loan

Education, Employment and Healthcare

On education, Tonko says he supports federal government funding universal pre-K programs, increasing funding for the Pell Grant program, decrease interest rates of Stafford Loans, federal tax incentives to help families save for college and eliminating all federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).[1]

Tonko says he supports the following employment policies: increasing funding for national job-training programs that retrain displaced workers or teach skills needed in today’s job market, encouraging employers to offer child care services, flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies, increasing the federal minimum wage,the right of workers to unionize, and including sexual orientation and gender identity in federal anti-discrimination laws. [1]

He will also support implementing a universal health care program to guarantee coverage to all Americans, regardless of income and expanding child health care programs.[1]

International Aid and Policy, National Security

On international aid, Tonko says he will support the United States giving aid to countries when extraordinary circumstances cause disaster and threaten civilian lives, giving aid to countries when it is in the security interests of the United States and eliminating aid from the U.S for any nation with documented human rights abuses.[1]

Tonko will support providing leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, creation of a Palestinian state, greater international sanctions on Iran if it continues to defy United Nations mandates, support the Lebanese government against insurgent forces, and withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. He will also support the following international policies: applying greater economic and diplomatic sanctions against North Korea if it fails to abide by its agreement to suspend its nuclear program, increasing financial and millitary support for Afghanistan, trade nuclear fuel to India for civilian purposes, U.S. involvement in ending the violence in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo, providing economic and military support to the Transitional Government of Somalia, using sanctions to encourage the government of Zimbabwe to end its human rights abuses and support the creation of an independent nation of Kosovo.Tonko has said he will no support decreasing financial and millitary support for Pakistan.[1]

On national security issues, Tonko has said he would support using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists when ordinary civilian courts are deemed inappropriate or impractical, hold foreign states accountable for terrorists who operate in their country, and increasing funding to states and cities for homeland security.He would not support law enforcement agencies having greater discretion to monitor domestic communications, support pre-emptive military strikes against countries deemed to be a threat to national security, support long-term use of National Guard troops to supplement the armed forces in assignments overseas and expanding the U.S. missile defense shield.[1]

Social Issues

Tonko believes that same-sex couples be allowed to marry and would not support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. He also supports federal funding for research on existing embryonic stem cell lines and federal funding to create lines of stem cells from new embryos, continue affirmative action programs. [1]

Social Security and Welfare

Tonko says he will support continuing to give states and local governments flexibility in and responsibility for welfare programs through federal block grants, supporting housing assistance for welfare recipients, and ensuring the viability of Social Security by increasing the payroll tax.[1]


Paul served in the New York State Assembly. [2]

2008 elections

Tonko was the Democratic nominee seeking to replace retiring Rep. Mike McNulty (R-N.Y.) in the 2008 congressional elections.[3][4] He won in primary elections which took place on September 9, 2008. [5] [6] Tonko defeated Republican challenge James Buhrmaster in November 2008 general elections. [5]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases.

Campaign contributions

The following is drawn from government records of campaign contributions to Paul Tonko. Campaign contributions are one of the most direct conduits for influencing members of Congress. How to use this information. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00030196&cycle=2008</crpcontribdata>


Tonko is assigned to the House Committee on Education and Labor


DC Office:
128 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-3805
Phone: (202) 225-5076
Fax: (202) 225-5077
Web Email

District Office - Albany:
O'Brien Federal Building, Room #827
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 465-0700
Fax: (518) 427-5107

Official Paul Tonko for Congress campaign website

Albany Campaign Office
706 Madison Ave
Albany, NY 12208

Mailing Address
Paul Tonko for Congress
911 Central Ave, #221
Albany, NY 12206
Phone: 518-512-3762 / Fax: 518)-512-3765

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Political Courage Test
  2. Paul Tonko for Congress
  3. Green Papers: New York Congressional Candidate
  4. Official Paul Tonko for Congress campaign website
  5. 5.0 5.1 “New York 2008 General Election,"The Green Papers”, September 10, 2008
  6. Greg Giroux, "Franken Primary Win One of Many Key Results from Tuesday’s Primaries",CQ Politics, September 10, 2008

External resources

External articles

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: House Committee on Education and Labor, House Committee on Science and Technology
110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: n/a
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 4, 2008
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 2009
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
New York State Assembly
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. O'Brien Federal Building, Room #827, Albany, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 465-0700 / Fax: (518) 427-5107

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

1. Albany Campaign Office, 706 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12208
Phone: 518-512-3762 / Fax: 518-512-3765

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: June 18, 1949