At a Glance
- Career History: Elected to Congress by special election (2007-2009); Dean of external affairs, Middlesex Community College, Lowell, Mass. (1997-2007); Attorney; Social worker, New York City Department of Welfare
- Birthday: April 26, 1946
- Hometown: Lowell, Mass.
- Alma Mater: Smith College, bachelor's degree; Boston University Law School
- Spouse: Paul Tsongas (deceased)
- Religion: Greek Orthodox
- Committees: Armed Services ; Budget ; Natural Resources
- DC Office: 1607 Longworth House Office Building, 202-225-3411
- State/District Office: Acton: 492 Main Street, 978-263-1951; Lowell: 11 Kearney Square, 3rd Floor, 978-459-0101; Lawrence: 305 Essex Street, 4th Floor, 978-681-6200
- Web site
Path to Power
Tsongas was born in Chico, Calif., just north of Sacramento, on April 26, 1946. Her father was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force and her mother an artist and copywriter.
The eldest of four daughters in a family that lived on air bases in the United States, Europe and Japan, Tsongas says she learned about the ethic of public service and hard work. These experiences instilled in her strong principles that she said influence her career as a congresswoman.
Tsongas' district has a rich military history and a multi-generational tradition of service in the armed forces. There are also several defense contractors in the 5th, including Raytheon, Polartec, Triton Systems, Black i Robotics and American Superconductor, which provide mission support, technology and equipment.
Thus, Tsongas has focused on defense issues such as providing U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with equipment and support. Tsongas sponsored legislation that aimed to provide lighterweight body armor to troops in the Middle East, as well as mental-health services to Iraqi veterans.
Tsongas has a political friendship with former Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.), whose seat she now holds. She also has ties to former President Bill Clinton, who rallied supporters for her during the 2007 special election.
She is part of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and has worked with Northeastern lawmakers on issues of local importance.