Mr. Tonko truly cares about his constituents

To the Editor:

As a recent college graduate and constituent in New York State Congressional District 20, I have two choices in this year's election: Liz Joy and Paul Tonko. This is why I am voting for Paul Tonko:

Mr. Tonko truly cares about his constituents. I know this because I met him twice. I first met Paul Tonko in 2017 while attending the Out of the Darkness Walk in Schenectady to raise awareness about suicide. Mr. Tonko made some brief remarks and said some words of encouragement before rushing off to meet with other constituents. I met him again at a meeting with the Community Loan Fund where he fielded questions about a variety of topics.

How Mr. Tonko has voted on every piece of legislation is on his official government website, On his campaign website,, there is an “Issues” tab. The most important part of this tab is the “read more” link under every issue where he describes his vision in detail and even names legislation.

I was swayed to vote for Mr. Tonko by comparing him to his opponent. Mr. Tonko believes COIVD-19 is a major issue, as it is listed on his campaign website under “Issues.” However, Ms. Liz Joy, as of Oct. 19, 2020, does not mention COVID-19 anywhere on her website, We should not be electing a representative who ignores major current issues, especially ones that have killed people in our district.

Ms. Joy does not have detailed plans for any of the major issues she is campaigning upon. For example, on her website homepage, there is a two-word bullet entitled “fiscal conservatism.” Fiscal conservatism implies reduced spending, a sentiment which I can get behind; however, where does Ms. Joy plan on cutting government spending from? She does not say.

Ms. Joy’s plan for domestic-violence victims is also not detailed enough. Ms. Joy proposes “Domestic Violence with Concealed Carry Permits and Firearms Training” on her website homepage. Giving victims a way to defend themselves against potential attack certainly sounds good; however, it could have unintended negative consequences.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, victims of domestic violence are five times more likely to die if their partner has access to a firearm. Adding a firearm to an already tense situation may lead to the victim being killed if her abuser gains access to said firearm. If Ms. Joy’s policy is implemented, there is a risk domestic violence can turn more deadly.

Where Mr. Tonko stands on the issue of domestic violence was made clear just a few weeks ago, on Oct. 1, when he announced that he secured nearly $9 million in grants for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence.

Regardless of who you vote for, my last plea is this: Vote! If you want an absentee ballot, request it immediately and mail it back as soon as possible, or drop it off in person at an early voting site.

Early voting begins in New York this Saturday, Oct. 24. If you want your voices heard, vote early! November third is the last day to vote. Do not procrastinate!

Omarra Hannibal-Williams


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