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December 10, 2023

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Rep. Edolphus Towns

POSTED: September 06, 2008, 12:04 pm

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Hon. Edolphus Towns
New York, 10th District
U. S. House of Representatives
2232 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20515
Ph: 202-225-5936
Fx: 202-225-1018

186 Joralemon Street
Suite 1102
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Ph: 718-855-8018
Fx: 718-858-4542

10408 Flatlands Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11236
Ph: 718-272-1175
Fx: 718-272-1178


Chief of Staff

Val Henry

Edolphus "Ed" Towns, a former social worker and community activist in Brooklyn, New York, is a 13-term veteran in the House, where he serves on both the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Towns represents the 10th Congressional District of New York, encompassing the neighborhoods of East New York, Canarsie, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Cypress Hills, Clinton Hill, Mill Basin, Midwood, downtown Brooklyn, Boreum Hill, as well as parts of Fort Greene and Williamsburg. This area brings together Brooklyn's diverse populace—black, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Jewish voters.

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In the 110th Congress (2007–2009), Representative Towns was appointed chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement. He has focused on issues such as government contracting, education, health care for 9/11 workers, and minority business development. Rep. Towns is also member of Energy and Commerce's Health Subcommittee, the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, and the Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee. Through these subcommittee appointments, Rep. Towns has worked diligently to enhance consumers' privacy protections on the Internet, develop innovative initiatives to reduce asthma and expand access to care, and bridge the digital divide.

Over his long career, Rep. Towns' legislative work in education, telecommunications, healthcare, financial services and environmental issues has earned him numerous awards. Among his key legislative accomplishments, Towns counts pioneering programs to address quality of life concerns for all Americans, such as:

  • Social Work Reinvestment Commission to address policy issues associated with the recruitment, retention, research, and support of the social work profession.
  • Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Act to authorize up to 250 million dollars in grants for minority-serving institutions to be used for networking equipment and instrumentation, campus wiring and the installation of wireless networks, systems upgrades, training, and technical assistance.
  • Poison Center Support, Enhancement, and Awareness Act to sustain funding of poison centers and enhance prevention efforts and public health.
  • Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act to protect the blind and other pedestrians from injury or death as a result of silent vehicle technology.
  • Flu Vaccine Availability Act to provide influenza vaccinations to all kindergarten through grade eight students in low-income metropolitan schools.
  • Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act to protect the rights of consumers when repairing their motor vehicles.
  • Student Right to Know Act, which mandated that student-athlete graduation rates be reported by colleges.
With steadfast dedication to the needs of the 10th Congressional District, Towns’ past victories include securing over $1 billion in federal funding to:

  • Develop facilities and provide support for a small business clinic;
  • Create a state of the art research and education institute;
  • Fund research technologies to lessen the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels;
  • Provide resources to study passenger safety and correct ADA and elderly mobility usage;
  • Renovate and expand a recreational gymnasium used for motor and physical enhancement of blind and/or multi-handicapped children;
  • Support community outreach initiatives;
  • Implement innovative bilingual education programs for the gifted and talented, teacher training and special education;
  • Enhance Medicare reimbursement rates for mid-level practitioners;
  • Initiate additional standards for the inclusion of children in clinical trials;
  • Place sports agents under the oversight of the Federal Trade Commission in an effort to halt unethical recruitment practices; and,
  • nstitute the Telecommunications Development Fund to provide capital for small start up telecommunications businesses.

As the original incorporator of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Rep. Towns understands the importance of preserving and restoring our environment. He remains committed to protecting our national parks and creating open spaces throughout Brooklyn. Recognized for fighting on behalf of Prospect Park in the heart of Brooklyn, the National Audubon Society lauded his efforts to secure much-needed federal funds for important restoration activities.
Born in Chadbourn, North Carolina to the son of a sharecropper, Rep. Towns earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. He later received a Masters in social work from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York and seven honorary doctorate degrees from various reputable institutions.

Towns' varied professional background includes assignments as an administrator at Beth Israel Medical Center, a professor at New York's Medgar Evers College and Fordham University and a teacher in the New York City Public School System. He is also a veteran of the United States Army and an ordained Baptist minister.

Entering politics through his dedicated work in various civic associations, Rep. Towns has the distinction of being the first African American to serve as Deputy Brooklyn Borough President. Congressman Towns and his son, Darryl, a New York State Assemblyman, are the first African-American, father-son team to serve simultaneously in New York public office. Towns is married to Gwendolyn (Forbes) Towns, and the couple has two children, Darryl and Deidra, and five grandchildren.

Source: U.S. House of Representatives

The 10th Congressional District cuts a bizarre path across Brooklyn, taking in Brooklyn Heights, downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, part of the heavily Hasidic Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill and East New York. At 60% Blacks represent the overwhelming majority of the district, with Latinos at 17% and whites at 16 percent. The poverty rate is 29 percent and the median income is $30,000.

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