John Bonacic represents Sullivan County, ten towns and two cities in Orange County, six towns in Ulster County, and five towns in Delaware County. He was born in New York City and grew up in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan. He went to Iona College on an academic and basketball scholarship. He was the recipient of Iona's Economics Medal for his undergraduate work and graduated Magna Cum Laude. After college, he worked for Orange and Rockland Utilities, while attending Fordham Law School at night.
Upon graduation from Fordham, John and his family moved to Orange County where he served as an Assistant District Attorney and on the Town of Mount Hope Planning Board. He later served in the Orange County Legislature (1973 - 1989), where he was Majority Leader and Chairman. He served in the NYS Assembly from 1990 - 1998, and was elected to the State Senate in 1998.
In the Senate, Senator Bonacic has championed causes relating to healthcare, property tax relief, and housing. He has negotiated agreements which kept two rural hospitals in his Senate District open - Ellenville and Margaretville; and also negotiated the re-opening of the hospital in Sidney, now known as Tri-Town Regional Hospital. He also led the effort to affiliate Catskill Regional Medical Center with the Orange Regional Medical Center, and created a public-private partnership to make substantial improvements to Catskill Regional Medical Center’s emergency room services. He was the original Senate sponsor of the Women's Health and Wellness Act, leading a four year effort within the Senate to pass this comprehensive healthcare legislation. The legislation was reported on by the NY Times, Times Union, Times Herald Record, and The Daily Star, and featured nationally on NBC Nightly News.
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development, Senator Bonacic sponsored legislation which allowed for the creation of thousands of new housing opportunities for New Yorkers across the State. He has also taken a strong interest in changing the way schools are funded because he sees the property tax as an obstacle to home ownership. He has helped develop legislation which passed the Senate to eliminate the property tax that homeowners pay to operate their local schools. He also sponsored the Access to Homes law. That law provides financial assistance to disabled individuals, including disabled war veterans, who need upgrades to their home to make them adaptable to their physical challenges.
In 2011, Senator Bonacic was named Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that capacity, he is responsible for oversight of the Governor’s Judicial Nominations, as well as all proposed Constitutional Amendments, as well as matters relating to the practice of law in New York State. He is also Chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Wagering and Gaming. That Committee has oversight of the State’s horse racing industry, as well as casino gaming in New York State.
Senator Bonacic resides with his wife, Pat, in Mount Hope, Orange County. They have two adult children, Scott and Melissa, and three grandchildren - Cameron, Dylan and Tyler.
Standing Committees Assignments 2013: Judiciary (Chairman); Racing, Gaming and Wagering (Chairman); Rules; Finance; Housing, Construction, and Community Development; Banks; Children and Families; Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities; Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation.