Flood insurance, brownfield reclamation and cracked water pipes aren’t the kind of issues that will garner you sexy national headlines out of Washington, D.C.
But they will improve the lives of your constituents and earn you their gratitude.
When voters in the 20th Congressional District go to the polls on Tuesday, they should show their gratitude by supporting Democrat Paul Tonko for re-election.
Amsterdam native Tonko — a professional engineer and longtime state Assemblyman — has spent much of his 10 years in Congress pushing for money to help restore the state’s crumbling infrastructure and to find ways to develop renewable energy.
Even working in the minority party in Congress, Tonko was able to push for changes in EPA toxic substance rules that helped make the environmental protections more effective. He’s helped secure money for communities to help them with repairs on their water lines, replace lead pipes in school fountains and other clean-water issues.
He’s been advocating for more money to help pay for flood insurance and other reforms. And he’s been pushing for investments in modernization of the power grid to ensure residents in rural areas get access to affordable power.
His opponent in the race, Republican Joe Vitollo, is a military veteran, former construction business owner and nurse whose platform includes getting taxes and debt under control and getting “dinosaurs” supported by big money like Tonko out of office in favor of people who know what it’s like to live and work in the real world. He’s well meaning, but he doesn’t have the experience or full grasp of the issues to leap from the private sector directly into Congress.
Voters should return Democrat Paul Tonko to Congress on Nov. 6.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Tonko’s tenure in Congress. He’s served five two-year terms.