headshot of candidate

Paul Toner

He/Him

Currently
City Councillor
Also
Executive Director of Teach Plus; Education Consultant
Election history
1st year on council

More about Paul Toner

A longtime cambridge resident, Paul Toner lives in the home of his great-grandfather.

Paul Toner first ran for City Council in 2017 and was first elected in 2019. He was vice president and then president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association from 2006 until 2014, and was president of the Cambridge Teachers Association from 2001-2006. Prior to being in leadership, he was a 7th and 8th grade teacher from 1993 to 2001 at the Harrington Elementary School in Cambridge.

Recently, he was an Executive Director at Teach Plus, a non-profit focused on training teachers to lead to education policy and a supporter of teacher and student evaluation systems.

Incumbent
Yes
Education
  • BA, Boston University
  • Master's, UMass Boston
  • JD, Suffolk University
Age
57 years, 9 months
Born in 1966
Voting
Reg. Aug. 18, 1984
History
  • 🗳️ 2022 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2022 General
  • 🗳️ 2021 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2020 General
  • 🗳️ 2020 Presidental Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2020 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2019 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2018 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2018 General
  • 🗳️ 2017 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2016 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2016 General
  • 🗳️ 2016 Presidental Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2015 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2014 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2014 General
  • 🗳️ 2013 Special
  • 🗳️ 2013 Special Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2013 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2012 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2012 Presidental Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2012 General

Where Paul Lives

Address
Owns at 24 Newman Street
Valued at approx. $1,130,000
Last sold Nov. 10, 1997 for $300,000
inflation adjusted approx. $570,000

Paul on Housing

Proposal Supported?
AHO #3
2072 Mass Ave
+$20mil Housing Trust
10% Budget for Housing
NCD Reform

think the proposal was introduced in such a way that it has caused unnecessary division in our city before the original AHO was reviewed as promised. I want more community input but I personally could support 15 stories in Porter and Harvard Square, even higher in Central or Kendall. I do not support a blanket 12 stories on all of our corridors.

Paul on Other Issues

Proposal Supported?
BEUD(ER)O
Sa/Su Car-free Mem Drive
Delay Mass Ave Bike Lanes
Remove Wires Before Bike Lane
Release Use-of-Force Names
Automated/Unarmed Traffic Enforcement
HEART Funding
No Parking Min.

Endorsements for Paul

Organization Cambridge? Union? View
Save Mass Ave this cycle
Cambridge Citizens Coalition on Sept. 14, 2023
Greater Boston Labor Council this cycle

View on their site »

Q&A

Interviews with Paul

ABC Candidate Questionnaire 2023

Housing policy, development, governance questions

ABC Candidate Questionnaire 2023

Housing policy, development, governance questions

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Distribution of funds, non-profits and their position in Cambridge

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Distribution of funds, non-profits and their position in Cambridge

Cambridge Citizens Coalition Survey 2023

General. Note: only distributed in downloadable word or pdf documents.

Cambridge Citizens Coalition Survey 2023

General. Note: only distributed in downloadable word or pdf documents.

CEOC Questionnaire 2023

"questions about the issues that most impact Cambridge’s low-income populations" (available in several languages)

CEOC Questionnaire 2023

"questions about the issues that most impact Cambridge’s low-income populations" (available in several languages)

Quotes by or about Paul

My top priority is bringing civil discourse back to local government.

Paul Toner, Scout Cambridge Profile

The City has been experimenting with variations of bicycle paths with very mixed reviews. I want to take the time to engage more people in the conversation... before committing to specific forms of bike lanes, and mandated benchmarks.

Press

Articles about or by Paul

The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Councilor Paul Toner, a Self-Described ‘Practical Progressive,’ Seeks Consensus in Reelection Bid

Looking at the 2023 Council race, Toner labels himself “the more moderate of the candidates.”

“I’ve kind of been described as the adult in the room,” he said. “It’s great to be passionate about a subject, but we also have to be practical about a subject.”

Nov. 1, 2023 — Samuel P. Goldston
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Councilor Paul Toner, a Self-Described ‘Practical Progressive,’ Seeks Consensus in Reelection Bid

Looking at the 2023 Council race, Toner labels himself “the more moderate of the candidates.”

“I’ve kind of been described as the adult in the room,” he said. “It’s great to be passionate about a subject, but we also have to be practical about a subject.”

Nov. 1, 2023 — Samuel P. Goldston
Cambridge Day Statements by five Cambridge city councillors on the attack on Israel

Oct. 13, 2023 — E. Denise Simmons, Patty Nolan, Paul Toner, Burhan Azeem, Marc McGovern
Cambridge Day Statements by five Cambridge city councillors on the attack on Israel

Oct. 13, 2023 — E. Denise Simmons, Patty Nolan, Paul Toner, Burhan Azeem, Marc McGovern
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Activists Protest Council Candidates After Racist, Transphobic Social Media Activity Comes To Light

Paul F. Toner, the second incumbent endorsed by the CCC, said he doesn’t “think anybody here is transphobic or Islamophobic, or is racist.”

“I think there may be some mistakes that have been made along the way,” he said.

Oct. 2, 2023 — Muskaan Arshad, Julian J. Giordano
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Activists Protest Council Candidates After Racist, Transphobic Social Media Activity Comes To Light

Paul F. Toner, the second incumbent endorsed by the CCC, said he doesn’t “think anybody here is transphobic or Islamophobic, or is racist.”

“I think there may be some mistakes that have been made along the way,” he said.

Oct. 2, 2023 — Muskaan Arshad, Julian J. Giordano
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Council Candidates Clash at Forum Hosted by Harvard Grad Student Union

Toner, who did not sign the [bicycle safety] pledge this year or in 2017, said, “The reason I don’t sign pledges is that I actually want to be an independent thinker.”

Sept. 27, 2023 — Muskaan Arshad, Julian J. Giordano
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Council Candidates Clash at Forum Hosted by Harvard Grad Student Union

Toner, who did not sign the [bicycle safety] pledge this year or in 2017, said, “The reason I don’t sign pledges is that I actually want to be an independent thinker.”

Sept. 27, 2023 — Muskaan Arshad, Julian J. Giordano
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge City Council Approves Flood Resilience Standards, Memorial Drive Closure Extension

“I personally feel that I really don’t care that we’ve gotten hundreds of emails from people who live in the Greater Boston area and the Greater Cambridge area when many of the people that live right there at the site of the closure are saying that they’re having difficulties getting in and out,” Toner said.

March 1, 2023 — Jina H. Choe, Samuel P. Goldston
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge City Council Approves Flood Resilience Standards, Memorial Drive Closure Extension

“I personally feel that I really don’t care that we’ve gotten hundreds of emails from people who live in the Greater Boston area and the Greater Cambridge area when many of the people that live right there at the site of the closure are saying that they’re having difficulties getting in and out,” Toner said.

March 1, 2023 — Jina H. Choe, Samuel P. Goldston
The Harvard Crimson Longtime Cantabrigian Paul Toner Hopes to Build Consensus on Council

For Toner, whose family has been in Cambridge for generations, running for City Council is just the next step in giving back to the city that has meant so much to him and his family.

"What I love and what so many long-term residents love about Cambridge is the community that’s about supporting one another and helping each other’s neighbors and giving back," Toner said.

Oct. 28, 2021 — Edona Cosovic, Io Y. Gilman
The Harvard Crimson Longtime Cantabrigian Paul Toner Hopes to Build Consensus on Council

For Toner, whose family has been in Cambridge for generations, running for City Council is just the next step in giving back to the city that has meant so much to him and his family.

"What I love and what so many long-term residents love about Cambridge is the community that’s about supporting one another and helping each other’s neighbors and giving back," Toner said.

Oct. 28, 2021 — Edona Cosovic, Io Y. Gilman
Wicked Local Cambridge ELECTION 2021: Cambridge City Council candidate statements

As a leader, I have sought to build consensus to make policy decisions based on open dialogue, and data. I am confident that I can bring the same spirit of respect and collaboration to the council. I will work with the council members, staff, and constituents to provide the solutions-oriented leadership necessary to develop and implement a vision for our city that preserves the best of our past and prepares us for the future.

Oct. 21, 2021 — Community Content
Wicked Local Cambridge ELECTION 2021: Cambridge City Council candidate statements

As a leader, I have sought to build consensus to make policy decisions based on open dialogue, and data. I am confident that I can bring the same spirit of respect and collaboration to the council. I will work with the council members, staff, and constituents to provide the solutions-oriented leadership necessary to develop and implement a vision for our city that preserves the best of our past and prepares us for the future.

Oct. 21, 2021 — Community Content
Wicked Local Cambridge GUEST COLUMN: Working to keep city’s values, economy strong

I will fight to maintain our vibrant neighborhoods. Cambridge’s assets are its neighborhoods, small businesses and strong sense of community. I will advocate for policies and infrastructure investments that balance the need to maintain livable neighborhoods, improve our quality of life and create sustainable economic growth.

Oct. 17, 2017 — Paul Toner
Wicked Local Cambridge GUEST COLUMN: Working to keep city’s values, economy strong

I will fight to maintain our vibrant neighborhoods. Cambridge’s assets are its neighborhoods, small businesses and strong sense of community. I will advocate for policies and infrastructure investments that balance the need to maintain livable neighborhoods, improve our quality of life and create sustainable economic growth.

Oct. 17, 2017 — Paul Toner
Scout Cambridge City Council Candidate Profiles, Group 2 of 5

What would your top three priorities be if elected?

My top priority is bringing civil discourse back to local government. I am a very solutions-oriented person and have worked hard at developing collaborative relationships in all of the work I do.

Oct. 5, 2017 — Reena Karasin
Scout Cambridge City Council Candidate Profiles, Group 2 of 5

What would your top three priorities be if elected?

My top priority is bringing civil discourse back to local government. I am a very solutions-oriented person and have worked hard at developing collaborative relationships in all of the work I do.

Oct. 5, 2017 — Reena Karasin
Cambridge Day Surprising many, district public schools will switch to controversial PARCC test

In public comments, Paul Toner – a Cambridge parent, member of the state Board of Education, and former president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association – agreed. “I want my son in fifth grade to have the chance try these new assessments as soon as possible so that he and all CPS students are better prepared for the new test in 2017,” he said, also putting heavy weight on the attractiveness of being “held harmless.”

But several teachers took exception to the term, with Preval saying after Toner’s remarks that she found harm in a new, problematic test “setting our kids up for failure.” Graham & Parks School literacy coach Kathy Greeley said teachers were not opposed to assessments, but harm came to schools through “narrowing our curriculum so that students are spending less and less time in a creative, imaginative way.”

Dec. 18, 2015 — Jean Cummings
Cambridge Day Surprising many, district public schools will switch to controversial PARCC test

In public comments, Paul Toner – a Cambridge parent, member of the state Board of Education, and former president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association – agreed. “I want my son in fifth grade to have the chance try these new assessments as soon as possible so that he and all CPS students are better prepared for the new test in 2017,” he said, also putting heavy weight on the attractiveness of being “held harmless.”

But several teachers took exception to the term, with Preval saying after Toner’s remarks that she found harm in a new, problematic test “setting our kids up for failure.” Graham & Parks School literacy coach Kathy Greeley said teachers were not opposed to assessments, but harm came to schools through “narrowing our curriculum so that students are spending less and less time in a creative, imaginative way.”

Dec. 18, 2015 — Jean Cummings
The Boston Globe New teachers union chief is unapologetically adversarial

The 57-year-old former psychologist turned teacher won her race by openly criticizing the current union president, Paul Toner, for his record of negotiating with — rather than fighting — officials on the development of teacher assessments and the Common Core, a set of national education standards adopted in Massachusetts and 43 other states.

Her agenda forcefully rejects those policies, which have gained increasing support from Republicans and Democratsover the last 20 years. She supports a three-year moratorium on standardized testing and teacher assessments and denounces charter schools. Though these initiatives have never been popular with teachers unions, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, under Toner, took a softer line, seeking compromise rather than confrontation.

June 6, 2014 — Michael Levenson
The Boston Globe New teachers union chief is unapologetically adversarial

The 57-year-old former psychologist turned teacher won her race by openly criticizing the current union president, Paul Toner, for his record of negotiating with — rather than fighting — officials on the development of teacher assessments and the Common Core, a set of national education standards adopted in Massachusetts and 43 other states.

Her agenda forcefully rejects those policies, which have gained increasing support from Republicans and Democratsover the last 20 years. She supports a three-year moratorium on standardized testing and teacher assessments and denounces charter schools. Though these initiatives have never been popular with teachers unions, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, under Toner, took a softer line, seeking compromise rather than confrontation.

June 6, 2014 — Michael Levenson
Cambridge Day MTA elects Cambridge teacher president

Toner taught social studies and reading to seventh- and eighth-grade students at the Harrington Elementary School in Cambridge from 1993 to 2001, when he was elected president of the 1,100-member Cambridge Teachers Association. In 2006, he was elected vice president of MTA.

A graduate of Boston University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, Toner also holds a law degree from Suffolk University. He lives in Cambridge with his wife, Susan Connelly, and their school-age children, Grace and Jack.

May 8, 2010 — Robert Travers
Cambridge Day MTA elects Cambridge teacher president

Toner taught social studies and reading to seventh- and eighth-grade students at the Harrington Elementary School in Cambridge from 1993 to 2001, when he was elected president of the 1,100-member Cambridge Teachers Association. In 2006, he was elected vice president of MTA.

A graduate of Boston University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, Toner also holds a law degree from Suffolk University. He lives in Cambridge with his wife, Susan Connelly, and their school-age children, Grace and Jack.

May 8, 2010 — Robert Travers

Campaign finance

How much Paul has raised and spent

$35,998
Current balance
$46,234
Balance at the start of 2023
$77,548
Raised in 2023
$87,783
Spent in 2023