June 18 – Happy Birthday Paul Tonko

paul-tonkoI was on the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education twice, once in the early 1980’s and again just a decade ago. Every year, then Assemblyman Tonko was the only elected representative in this area to physically come to a board meeting, sit down with the board and district officials and go through a proposed budget. He would ask questions, listen to our complaints and problems, give us information about state government education and funding initiatives and when he left those meetings, he had a first-hand awareness of the situation the district was facing.

No other elected representative ever did this. We’d even invite them in for a briefing and they’d always politely decline because of busy schedules or they’d send a representative on their behalf. Not Tonko though, not ever. He didn’t need an invite, he’d just show up and whenever we asked him for his assistance he followed through. We didn’t get what we needed each time but he responded every time and came through for the district and local taxpayers on several occasions. And he didn’t do this just with the Amsterdam school district, he did this with each of the school districts in his assembly district, each and every year!

He was born on June 18, 1949 right here in Amsterdam, NY…

(This gifted Amsterdam born musician and composer also celebrates her birthday on June 18)

My complete birthday post for Congressman Tonko will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. On June 30, 2016, I will also once again begin distributing an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that will include the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty  people whose birthdays I will recognize each month. Each newsletter will also include an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.

The monthly newsletter is free. If you’d like to receive it, just make sure your name and e-mail address are included on this list. If you received the first wave of Amsterdam Birthday Blog newsletters sent during the Fall of 2015, your name is already on the list. But if you’re not sure, go ahead and sign up again because our software will eliminate any duplicate e-mail addresses.

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