MA Congresswoman Niki Tsongas ('88) Running for Re-election
Niki Tsongas (’88), a Democrat, represents Massachusetts’s Fifth Congressional District. Through a special election held in 2007, Tsongas became the first woman from Massachusetts elected to the US Congress in 25 years. Tsongas holds the same seat held thirty years earlier by her late husband Paul Tsongas, a former Congressman, US Senator, and presidential candidate. She has served in this position since 2007 and is currently running for re-election in 2010.
“I was motivated by a lifelong commitment to public service and a desire to change peoples’ lives for the better,” Tsongas says about her desire to serve in Congress. “When I was growing up, we, like so many families, believed in making a difference and giving back to country and community. My father was an air force colonel who had survived Pearl Harbor, and we lived on military bases here and abroad. That youthful experience instilled in me the value of service and sacrifice.”
Prior to serving in Congress, Tsongas was a community leader in Lowell, MA, where she served on the Lowell Civic Stadium and Arena Commission. She also used her J.D. from BU Law to start Lowell’s first all-female law practice.
Tsongas currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she works to ensure that the servicemen and women of the county have the necessary equipment and protection. She also serves on the Budget Committee, where she addresses the deficits and debt created over the past decade while shaping a national budget to strengthen the economy and to create jobs. In addition, Tsongas serves on the Natural Resources Committee, which oversees legislation related to domestic energy production, national parks, rivers, forests, oceans, and wilderness areas.
Most recently, Tsongas called for unemployment benefits extension, which was later approved by the Senate. The extension will help more than 33,000 unemployed Massachusetts residents whose benefits have expired.
In addition, she recently introduced legislation in response to the BP oil disaster that would require oil companies to plan for worst-case scenario spills. The Oil Spill Preparation and Protection Act would require oil companies to include oil spill containment and cleanup plans in all exploration, production, and development plans. The plans would be required to be submitted to the EPA for approval.
To facilitate communication between her and her constituents, Tsongas regularly holds Congress on Your Corner at supermarkets across the fifth district, where residents can voice any issues of concern or problems they may have had when dealing with federal agencies.
As of March, seven Republicans and four independent candidates have come forward to challenge Tsongas’s re-election bid.