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Niki Tsongas

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th district
Assumed office 
October 16, 2007
Preceded by Marty Meehan

Born April 26, 1946 (1946-04-26) (age 63)
Chico, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Paul Tsongas
Residence Lowell, Massachusetts
Alma mater Smith College
Boston University
Occupation social worker, attorney
Religion Greek Orthodox

Nicola "Niki" Sauvage Tsongas (pronounced /ˈsɒŋɡəs/; born April 26, 1946 in Chico, California[1]) is the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 5th congressional district and the widow of U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas, who had also been the Representative for the 5th district in the 1970s. When she was first elected to Congress in a special election in 2007, she was the first woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts in 25 years. She was also the first female Democrat elected to Congress from the state in 35 years and the first woman to represent the 5th district in 46 years.[2]



Niki was born to Marian Susan Wyman, an artist and copywriter, and Colonel Russell Elmer Sauvage, an engineer in the United States Air Force who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. She was a 1964 graduate from Narimasu American High School in Japan while her father was stationed at Fuchu Air Force Base and then spent one year at Michigan State before attending Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. After graduating from Smith in 1968, she moved to New York City where she took a job as a social worker for the Department of Welfare. Niki has a law degree from Boston University and started Lowell's first all-female law practice. In 1967, while spending the summer in Arlington, Virginia, she met Paul Tsongas, then an aide for Congressman Brad Morse. She married Tsongas in 1969. They had three daughters: Ashley, Katina, and Molly. Paul was a Massachusetts congressman, senator and in 1992, a candidate for Democratic presidential nomination; he died in 1997 due to complications from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She has also worked as the Dean of External Affairs at Middlesex Community College,[1] as well as a Board Member of Fallon Community Health Plan[3], and actively serving on the Lowell Civic Stadium and Arena Commission (which oversees the Tsongas Arena, the LeLacheur Ballpark, the Merrimack Repertory Theater, and the Lowell Plan).[1] In 2001, she was appointed by then-Representative Marty Meehan to head a foundation to provide educational funding for the children of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Campaign for Congress

When Meehan resigned in 2007 to serve as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Niki Tsongas ran for the vacant seat. She defeated her four opponents in the Democratic primary with a plurality of the vote, 36%. Her leading opponent in the general election, on October 16, 2007, was Republican Jim Ogonowski; in addition, there were two independent candidates and one from the Constitution Party. During her campaign she received endorsements from the three major newspapers in the area: the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the Lowell Sun.[4][5] Tsongas won the special election with 51% of the vote.

Tsongas faced no challenger in the 2008 election.

Health Care Policy

Tsongas supports, and voted for, the Affordable Healthcare for America Act, and supports a public option as long as it "[is] self-sufficient, relying on the premiums it collects" [6]. On her website, Congresswoman Tsongas also praises the Act, saying "The bill preserves what is best in the current system," in regards to Americans' choices in Health Care, and that it "will reduce our nation’s growing deficit over ten years by $104 billion" . She is, however, "very disappointed" at the restrictions on reproductive rights built into the current version of the Bill[7].

Clean Energy and the Economy

Congresswoman Tsongas supports clean and alternative energy industry, as she feels that investment in these fields is the key to the United States' economic future. In a press release, Congresswoman Tsongas cited an increase in jobs of more than nine percent in the clean energy sector, more than twice the rate of growth of traditional jobs, over 1998-2007 [8]. Tsongas has also voted yes on various bills in support of Alternative Energy, such as the Energy Act of 2007, Alternative Energy Tax Incentives, and Energy Law Amendments (Cap and Trade), which aim to increase the minimum fuel efficiency cars may have in the U.S.A., reduce taxes for the producers of alternative energy, and institute an Emissions Trading system, respectively [9][10][11].

Interest Group Ratings

  • On abortion and reproductive rights:

Tsongas had a 100% approval rating from Planned Parenthood, a reproductive-rights interest group, in 2008[12]. She recently voted against an amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act "that would prohibit all Federal funds... from being used to pay for abortion" [13].

  • On taxation and financial/budgetary issues:

Tsongas has received low or failing ratings from the National Taxpayer's Union, FreedomWorks, the National Tax Limitation Committee, and Americans for Tax Reform[14]. All of these groups specifically work to lower taxes and reduce the role of federal government [15][16][17][18].

Committee assignments


  1. ^ a b c "Niki Tsongas bio". Niki Tsongas for Congress. Retrieved 2007-10-15.  
  2. ^ "United States Congressional Delegations from Massachusetts: 1963–1983". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2007-10-15.  
  3. ^ Niki Tsongas, Board Member of Fallon Community Health Plan, Elected to Congress | ACHP
  4. ^ "Niki Tsongas Endorsed by Boston Globe and Boston Herald". Niki Tsongas for Congress. Retrieved 2007-10-15.  
  5. ^ "Sun backs Tsongas". Blue Mass. Group. Retrieved 2007-10-15.  
  6. ^,22, Press Release of 11/07/09 on Health Reform on the Representative's website
  7. ^,22, Congresswoman Tsongas' Website
  8. ^,49&itemid=264, Niki Tsongas on Alternative Energy
  9. ^, Project Vote Smart on the Energy Act of 2007
  10. ^, Project Vote Smart on Alternative Energy Tax Incentives
  11. ^, Project Vote Smart on Energy Law Amendments
  12. ^, Project Vote Smart Interest Group ratings for Planned parenthood
  13. ^, Project Vote Smart Voting Records
  14. ^, Project Vote Smart Interest Group Rankings for Nicola Tsongas
  15. ^, National Taxpayers Union's Mission Statement
  16. ^, National Tax Limitation Committee's Mission Statement at Project Vote Smart
  17. ^, FreedomWorks' Mission Statement at Project Vote Smart
  18. ^, Americans For tax Reform's Mission Statement at Project Vote Smart

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Marty Meehan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th congressional district

October 18, 2007 – present


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