The Honorable Paul Jude Tonna serves as managing partner of Praxis Public Relations, Inc., a Long Island-based business consulting and government relations company. He is Molloy College’s executive director for The Energeia Partnership, a leadership academy dedicated to identifying and addressing the serious, complex and multi‐dimensional issues challenging the Long Island region.
Mr. Tonna served from 1994 to 2005 as a Suffolk County legislator and for three years he led the Suffolk County Legislature as its presiding officer. During Legislator Tonna’s 12 years of elected office, he was a strong advocate for the poor, homeless and marginalized on Long Island, workforce housing, and the environment. He sponsored, co-sponsored, and passed numerous laws and/or initiatives including: groundbreaking non-smoking legislation; innovative programs focused on eliminating child poverty and homelessness; legislation designed to elevate the standard of living for all Suffolk County residents; and innovative Greenways Funds to protect open space, farmlands and parklands.
Mr. Tonna is a strong advocate for immigrants working and living on Long Island. The 2003 award‐winning film documentary Farmingville chronicled some of those efforts. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV networks including: CNN, The Oxygen Network, LI Telecare, TV 55, News 12 Long Island, NBC News 4 and PBS WLIW 21.
Paul is a former adjunct professor of theology and religious studies at St. John’s University. He served as chairman, Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and vice chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council. Mr. Tonna is an active member of many nonprofit boards including: The Advanced Energy Research & Technology Center (Stony Brook University), Energeia Board of Advisors (Molloy College), and Erase Racism’s College of Advisors. He also serves as the executive director of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association (SCVOA) and the United States Green Building Council-Long Island Chapter (USGBC‐LI). Mr. Tonna is chairman and commissioner of the South Huntington Water District, and founding director of Empire National Bank.
Mr. Tonna has received many awards and honors including: Molloy College’s Caritas Medal; St. John’s University St. Vincent de Paul Medal; Suffolk County Human Rights Commission Legislator of the Year; National Association of Social Workers Public Citizen of the Year; Habitat for Humanity Man of the Year; The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Award; Networking Magazine’s David Award; Long Island Business News 50 Around 50 Award; ACIT Community Advocate Award; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission Public Service Award; American Jewish Committee Community Service Honoree; and he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
Mr. Tonna earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from New York University, a master’s degree in theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary and he conducted doctoral studies in systematic theology at Fordham University. Paul resides in Huntington, New York with his wife Carol and his children Peter, Paul, John, Grace, Mary, Carolann, Joseph and Lucy.