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John P. Tolman

Vice President
National Legislative Representative


(202) 624-8776

Vice President & National Legislative Representative John P. Tolman was reelected by acclamation to this third consecutive term of office at the BLET’s Third National Convention in Las Vegas on October 1, 2014. He was first elected VP & NLR at the BLET’s First National Convention in 2006, winning reelection by acclamation at the Second National Convention in October of 2010.

Vice President Tolman joined the BLET on March 1, 1980. He began his railroad career as a hostler in 1971 shortly after graduating from Watertown High School in Watertown, Mass. He advanced to the position of fireman and was promoted to locomotive engineer in 1974. During the course of his railroad career, he worked for New York Central Railroad, Penn Central Railroad, Conrail, the Boston and Maine Railroad and Amtrak. Vice President Tolman earned both Bachelor’s and Masters’ degrees while working on the railroad.

In September 1996, he was hired by the BLE International Division to work as a Special Representative, and was asked to move to Cleveland, Ohio, in order to work on special projects under the direction of the International President. In September 2001, he was asked to serve as the Chief of Staff to the President. In July 2004, he was asked to serve as the Legislative and Political Director and Chief of Staff.

Vice President Tolman followed in his father’s footsteps both in the railroad and in union work, his father was a conductor and served as a UTU local and General Chairman. His oldest brother is a yardmaster for Amtrak, and Local Chairman for the UTU Yardmasters. His oldest sister works for the Superintendent in a public-school system in Massachusetts. His younger brothers are deeply involved in Massachusetts politics. Steven worked as a railroad clerk for 25 years, served as a State Representative for several years; prior to that he had been a Local Chairman for TCU, and a regional system Chairman for TCU. He now is a five-term Massachusetts State Senator. Warren served two terms as a State Representative, and two terms as a State Senator. In 2000, he was the Lt. Governor nominee for the Democratic Party. In 2004, he ran for Massachusetts governor. His youngest sister is the chairwoman of her bargaining unit for the Massachusetts Nurses’ Association where she previously served as president.

Vice President Tolman and his wife Chris have three children, Caroline, Jeff and Johanna.

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