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Niki Tsongas
Niki Tsongas.jpg
U.S. House, Massachusetts, District 3
In office
October 16, 2007-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 8
PredecessorJim McGovern (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedOctober 16, 2007
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$6,850,301
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sSmith College
J.D.Boston University
Date of birthApril 26, 1946
Place of birthChico, California
ProfessionAttorney, social worker
Net worth$4,634,023
Office website
Campaign website
Niki Tsongas (b. April 26, 1946, in Chico, California) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives representing Massachusetts' 3rd congressional district. Tsongas was first elected to the House in a 2007 special election replacing Rep. Marty Meehan, who resigned to become the Chancellor of University of Massachusetts Lowell. Tsongas is currently serving her fourth consecutive term, having won re-election on November 6, 2012. Tsongas previously served Massachusetts' 5th congressional district but due to 2010 redistricting, she now represents district 3. [1]

Tsongas is set to run for re-election in Massachusetts' 3rd congressional district in the general election on November 4, 2014.

Prior to her congressional career, Tsongas worked in the Department of Welfare. She also opened Lowell, Massachusetts' first all-female law firm. [2]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Tsongas is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning she will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Tsongas was born in Chico, California. Her father, Colonel Russell Elmer Sauvage, was an engineer in the United States Air Force, and survived the devastating attacks on Pearl Harbor. [3] After finishing high school in Japan, where her father was stationed, Niki spent one year at Michigan State University before transferring to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She then went on to get a law degree at Boston University. In 1969, she married the late Paul Tsongas, a former Massachusetts Congressman and Senator. She has three daughters.


Tsongas worked as a social worker for the Department of Welfare before opening the first all-female law practice in Lowell, Massachusetts. From 1997 to 2009, she was Dean of External Affairs at Middlesex Community College. She has served as a member of Congress since 2007. [4]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Tsongas serves on the following committees:[5]


Tsongas served on the following committees:


Specific votes

Tsongas voted for TARP.[8] According to a Gallup poll from September 13, 2010, 61% of Americans disapproved of TARP, while 37% approved.[9]

Tsongas also supported the auto bailout.[10] As of September 13, 2010, 56% of Americans disapproved of the auto bailout, while 43% supported it.[11]

In addition, Rep. Tsongas voted for the stimulus bill.[12] A total of 57% of U.S. voters believe that the stimulus has either hurt the economy (36%) or had no impact (21%). Only 38% believe the stimulus helped the economy. [13]

Tsongas also voted in favor of the "Cash for Clunkers" bill.[14] According to a June 2009 Rasmussen Reports poll, 54% of likely U.S. voters opposed Cash for Clunkers, while 35% supported it.[15]

Tsongas supported the "Cap and Trade" bill.[16] Just after the bill’s passage, 42% of likely U.S. voters said that cap and trade would hurt the economy, while 19% believed it would help. Only 15% said that the bill would have no impact.[17]

Finally, Tsongas voted in favor of the health care reform bill.[18] Roughly 57% of likely voters at least somewhat favored repeal of the health care reform bill, including 46% who strongly favored repeal. About 35% of likely voters opposed repeal. A total of 51% of likely voters believed the health care reform bill will be bad for the country, while 36% believed it will be beneficial.[19]

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Tsongas voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. She was 1 of 172 Democrats that voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257-167 vote on January 1, 2013.[20]

Campaign themes


On her campaign website, Tsongas listed eight issues. They are:[21]

  • Jobs and Economy

On her website, Tsongas says, "Because this recession has affected people who never expected to need help, and I believe government can be the catalyst to jumpstarting our economy."

  • Support Troops and Veterans

On her website, Tsongas says, "Because these are the people I grew up with and as a member of the Armed Services Committee, it is my responsibility to support and protect the men and women serving on our behalf, and our veterans whose lives have been changed forever by the experience of war."

  • Deficit Reduction

On her website, Tsongas says, "As a member of the Budget Committee, I know we cannot continue to mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren by charging government expenses on the national credit card. Crafting a budget for the nation must be done responsibly and with an understanding of the long term consequences of our choices."

  • Education

On her website, Tsongas says, "I believe there are few issues as vital to our economic future as developing a trained and educated workforce."

  • Dignified Retirement

On her website, Tsongas says, "Because if you’ve worked hard your whole life like my parents did, you deserve to be able to rely on your savings, pension and the solid foundation of Social Security."

  • Energy

On her website, Tsongas says, "Because addressing climate change and reducing our dependence on foreign oil is not just about solving the global warming problem facing the next generation – it has the immediate effect of creating high paying job opportunities if we invest in alternative technologies now."

  • Hold institutions accountable

On her website, Tsongas says, "For our long-term success, we need to guarantee that financial firms have the tools they need to help grow the economy but also have the safeguards necessary to prevent another crisis."

  • Defend rights of the people

On her website, Tsongas says, "I have advocated for the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and well being for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or expression." [21]

Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[22] For more information pertaining to Tsongas's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[23]

National security

American response in Syria

See also: United States involvement in Syria

On August 29, 2013, more than 50 House Democrats signed a letter written by California Rep. Barbara Lee that called for a congressional resolution on strikes, and cautioned that the dire situation in Syria "should not draw us into an unwise war—especially without adhering to our constitutional requirements."[24][25] The letter also called on the Obama administration to work with the U.N. Security Council “to build international consensus” condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons. Tsongas was one of the 50 Democrats in the House to sign the letter.[24][25]

National Defense Authorization Act

Voted "Yes" Tsongas voted in support of HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.[26]

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations

Voted "Yes" Tsongas voted in support of HR 2217 - the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 and was largely along party lines.[26]


Farm Bill
See also: United States Farm Bill 2013

Voted "No" Tsongas voted against the July 11, 2013 Farm Bill. The bill passed in a 216-208 vote.[27] The bill passed included farm policy, but did not include food stamps.[28]

King Amendment

Tsongas signed a letter sent to Collin Peterson in August 2013, asking him to keep Steve King's amendment out of the final Farm Bill.[29] The "Protect Interstate Commerce Act" amendment prevents states from applying their own laws on agricultural products to agricultural products from another state.[30]. King introduced the amendment in response to a law in California, requiring a larger size cage for egg-producing chickens. King represents Iowa, which is a large egg producer.


Department of Homeland Security Appropriations

Voted "No" Tsongas voted in opposition of HR 2217 - the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245-182 and was largely along party lines.[26]


Repealing Obamacare

Voted "No" Tsongas has voted against all attempts to repeal or delay the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[31]

Social issues


Voted "No" Tsongas voted against HR 1797 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The resolution passed the House on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 228-196. The purpose of the bill is to ban abortions that would take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.[32]



See also: Massachusetts' 3rd congressional district elections, 2014

Tsongas is set to run for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. If she runs, she will seek the Democratic nomination in the primary election. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


See also Redistricting in Massachusetts and United States House of Representatives elections in Massachusetts, 2012

Due to redistricting, Tsongas sought re-election in the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts. She faced no opposition in the Democratic primary on September 6, 2012. [33]

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 3 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngNiki Tsongas Incumbent 63.3% 212,119
     Republican Jon Golnik 32.6% 109,372
     N/A All Others 0.1% 262
     N/A Blank Votes 4% 13,358
Total Votes 335,111
Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State "Return of Votes"

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Tsongas is available dating back to 2008. Based on available campaign finance records, Tsongas raised a total of $6,850,301 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 16, 2013.[37]

Niki Tsongas's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. House (Massachusetts, District 3) Won $1,606,981
2010 U.S. House (Massachusetts, District 5) Won $1,950,422
2008 U.S. House (Massachusetts, District 5) Won $3,292,898
Grand Total Raised $6,850,301


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Tsongas reports.[38]

Niki Tsongas (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[39]April 15, 2013$132,330.92$82,330.55$(52,218.86)$162,442.61
July Quarterly[40]July 15, 2013$162,442.16$205,865.00$(90,440.65)$277,866.96
Running totals


Breakdown of the source of Tsongas' campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Tsongas won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Tsongas' campaign committee raised a total of $1,606,982 and spent $1,440,655.[41]

Cost per vote

Tsongas spent $6.79 per vote received in 2012.


Tsongas won re-election to the U.S. House in 2010. In that cycle, she raised a total of $1,950,442 and spent $1,932,912. [42]


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Tsongas is a "rank-and-file Democrat" as of June 24, 2013.[43]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[44]

Tsongas most often votes with:

Tsongas least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Tsongas missed 132 of 4,245 roll call votes from Oct 2007 to Mar 2013, which is 3.1% of votes during that period. This is worse than the median of 2.2% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving.[45]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Tsongas paid her congressional staff a total of $1,079,583 in 2011. She ranked 65th on the list of the highest paid Democratic representative staff salaries and ranked 85th overall of the highest paid representative staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Massachusetts ranked 2nd in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[46]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Tsongas' net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $1,298,049 and $7,969,998. This averages to $4,634,023, which is a 1.49% increase since 2010. This is lower than the $5,107,874 average net worth for Democratic representatives in 2011.[47]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Tsongas' net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $1,252,045 and $7,879,998. That averages to $4,566,021.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic representatives in 2010 of $4,465,875.[48]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


According to the data released in 2013, Tsongas was ranked the 78th most liberal representative during 2012.[49]


According to the data released in 2012, Niki Tsongas was ranked the 106th most liberal representative during 2011.[50]

Voting with party

June 2013

Niki Tsongas voted with the Democratic Party 95.6% of the time, which ranked 15th among the 201 House Democratic members as of June 2013.[51]


Tsongas was married to Paul Tsongas, who died in 1997. She has three daughters.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Niki + Tsongas + Massachusetts + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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External links


Wikipedia® has an article on:


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Official U.S. House Website, "Biography," Accessed December 4, 2011
  4. Washington Post, "Who Runs Gov," Accessed December 1, 2011
  5. CQ.com, "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress"
  6. House Armed Services Committee, "Members"
  7. Natural Resources Committee, "Members"
  8. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll681.xml
  9. Gallup, "Among Recent Bills, Financial Reform a Lone Plus for Congress," September 13, 2010
  10. US House Clerk, "Roll Call 690," December 10, 2008
  11. Gallup, "Among Recent Bills, Financial Reform a Lone Plus for Congress," September 13, 2010
  12. US House Clerk, "Roll Call 46," January 28, 2009
  13. Rasmussen, "38% Say Stimulus Plan Helped Economy, 36% Say It Hurt," August 24, 2010
  14. US House Clerk, "Roll Call 314," June 9, 2009
  15. Rasmussen, "54% Oppose “Cash for Clunkers” Plan To Spur Purchase of Greener Cars," June 23, 2009
  16. U.S. House Clerk, "Roll Call Vote on Cap and Trade Bill," 2009
  17. Rasmussen, "42% Say Climate Change Bill Will Hurt The Economy," June 30, 2009
  18. US House Clerk, "Roll Call 165," March 21, 2010
  19. Rasmussen, "61% Favor Repeal of Health Care Law," September 20, 2010
  20. U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," Accessed January 4, 2013.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Niki Tsongas for Congress, "Issues," August 11, 2012
  22. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  23. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 Office of Barbara Lee, "Lee Letter to President Obama," accessed September 2, 2013
  25. 25.0 25.1 Washington Post, "More than 50 House Democrats also want Syria strike resolution," accessed September 2, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Project Vote Smart, "Representative Niki Tsongas' Voting Records on National Security," accessed September 23, 2013
  27. Vote Smart, "Tsongas on Farm Bill 2013", accessed September 23, 2013
  28. New York Times, "House Republicans Push Through Farm Bill, Without Food Stamps", accessed September 17, 2013
  29. Vote Smart, "Letter to Ranking Member Collin Peterson, House Committee on Agriculture - Reject Rep. King's Provision on Farm Bill", accessed September 23, 2013
  30. Time.com, "King Farm Bill Amendment Angers Animal Advocates", accessed September 18, 2013
  31. http://votesmart.org/candidate/89417/niki-tsongas?categoryId=38&type=V,S,R,F,P#.UkCTeIakrMk Project Vote Smart, "Representative Niki Tsongas' Voting Records on Issue: Health and Health Care," accessed September 23, 2013]
  32. Project Vote Smart, "Tsongas on abortion," accessed September 23, 2013
  33. Eagle Tribune, "Ex-Gov. Cellucci to chair Golnik 3rd District race," Accessed January 22, 2012
  34. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  35. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  36. Boston.com
  37. Open Secrets, "Niki Tsongas," Accessed May 16, 2013
  38. Federal Election Commission "Niki Tsongas Summary Report," Accessed July 25, 2013
  39. Federal Election Commission "Niki Tsonga April Quarterly," Accessed July 25, 2013
  40. Federal Election Commission "Niki Tsonga July Quarterly," Accessed July 25, 2013
  41. Open Secrets, " 2012 Re-Election Cycle," Accessed February 15, 2013
  42. Open Secrets, Niki Tsongas 2010 Election Cycle
  43. GovTrack, "Tsongas," Accessed June 24, 2013
  44. OpenCongress, "Niki Tsongas," Accessed August 5, 2013
  45. GovTrack, "Niki Tsongas," Accessed April 2013
  46. LegiStorm, "Nikki Tsongas"
  47. OpenSecrets.org, "Tsongas, (D-Massachusetts), 2011"
  48. OpenSecrets.org, "Tsongas, (D-Massachusetts), 2010"
  49. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  50. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  51. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim McGovern
U.S. House of Representatives - Massachusetts District 3
Succeeded by
Preceded by
U.S. House of Representatives - Massachusetts District 5
Succeeded by
Ed Markey (D)