As a Republican legislator from a primarily rural district, Frank Proto helps provide balance to a Legislature that has had a Democratic majority since 1994. Proto frequently asks difficult questions and demands more explanation about issues under consideration than perhaps any other Legislator. He has served on the Legislature since 1985, was vice-chairman in 1986 and 1987, and has headed up numerous committees. He provided oversight for the new County airport, promoted public library reading rooms for smaller municipalities, built a stronger understanding of rural communities through his chairmanship of the Rural Affairs Committee, and helped frame the Farmland Protection Plan. He has consistently supported funding for housing grants and enhanced police and emergency services. In 1999, Proto headed up a special committee to explore the needs of all public libraries in the County. He chaired the Census 2000 Committee that worked to promote awareness and participation in the Census count. As chairman of the Regional Archives and Records Committee, he has increased local access to archives grants. Proto has served on the boards of many local organizations, including Hospicare, BOCES, Cayuga Medical Center, Tompkins County Public Library, Tompkins County Board of Health, and the Brooktondale Fire Commissioners.
Frank also serves on the TCAT Board of Directors, Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, Local Emergency Planning Committee, Soil and Water Conservation District, Recreation Partnership Board, and is Chair of the Water Resources Council.