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.
Paul 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.
Paul 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, and vice chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council. He is an active member of many nonprofit boards including: The Advanced Energy Research & Technology Center (Stony Brook University); Energeia Board of Advisors (Molloy College); The Long Island Index Advisory Board; and Erase Racism’s College of Advisors. Paul also serves as the executive director of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association and the United States Green Building Council-Long Island Chapter. He is chairman and commissioner of the South Huntington Water District, founding director of Empire National Bank, and on the Board of Directors of BioRestorative Therapies, Inc., a life sciences biotechnology company focused on adult stem cell‐based cellular therapies for various personal medical applications.
Paul 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 the rank of Eagle Scout.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from New York University and a master’s degree in theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary. Paul also conducted doctoral studies in systematic theology at Fordham University. He resides in Huntington, N.Y., with his wife, Carol, and his children, Peter, Paul, John, Grace, Mary, Carolann, Joseph, and Lucy.