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R’dam Junction Fire Chief to join Tonko at State of the Union

Congressman Paul Tonko, left, is joined by Rotterdam Junction Fire Chief Shawn Taylor, right.

Congressman Paul Tonko, left, is joined by Rotterdam Junction Fire Chief Shawn Taylor, right.

— Prior to serving as chief, Taylor rose through the ranks, holding the positions of firefighter, lieutenant, captain and assistant Chief. He oversees 40 active members of the Rotterdam Junction Fire Department, which responds to an average of 135 calls annually.

“There are some state programs that I want to look into and talk to a couple of people about. I am going to be in the right spot to talk to a few of the right people,” Taylor said. “If I can help one more person out by going down that is exactly what my purpose of going down is for.”

Taylor is employed fulltime at GE Energy in Schenectady and also runs his own photography business, Taylor Media. He grew up in Rotterdam Junction and graduated from Schalmont High School in 1992. He is married to Brandy Taylor.

Flood relief focus wasn’t initially on the riverside hamlet, said Tonko, but through the efforts of Taylor, fellow fire fighters and volunteers the area’s need was brought to the forefront.

“Like many of the chiefs of the region that was affected, he took tremendous leadership and offered to bring the community together by his actions, which I think were very helpful efforts in initial areas of the flooding,” Tonko said.

Tonko said it is important for flood relief efforts to continue as residents try to rebuild and return to a sense of normalcy. Also, he is looking into what programs are working and areas for improvement in aid distribution.

“The storm may have come and gone, but the hurt and destruction continues to painfully linger on,” Tonko said. “We want as smart a government response as we can achieve. There is always a struggle for resources, but we want to make certain there is a fair and just and compassionate response for the people impacted by the flood.”

Tonko plans to join bipartisan colleagues from upstate New York during the address, which include Chris Gibson, Richard Hanna, Bill Owens, Ann Marie Buerkle, Tom Reed, Kathy Hochul and Brian Higgins.

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