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Democrat Terri Cortvriend announces for House District 72 seat



Terri Cortvriend

Terri Cortvriend is running as a Democrat in the 2018 elections to represent Rhode Island House District 72. District 72 includes portions of Middletown and Portsmouth. Currently that seat is held by Republican Kenneth Mendonca.

“I will bring your voice to the State House to help make our communities of Middletown and Portsmouth a better place to live, work, raise your family, and grow our businesses,” writes Cortvriend, who is the Chair of the Portsmouth School Committee. “I am running for State Representative of District 72 because I believe that the people of Middletown and Portsmouth deserve an engaged, compassionate, authentic, hard worker who has personal stakes in getting laws passed that will help us all thrive. A Representative who is dedicated to solving issues that affect our community daily. I will be visible and approachable. I promise effective, transparent representation and common-sense solutions. You can count on me to roll up my sleeves and pass legislation that will help you in your daily life.”

Cortvriend wants to engage with her community and get her community engaged. She is looking forward to walking her district, knocking on doors, and finding out what her neighbors are looking for.

Running for higher office is “something I had always thought I would like to do.” After Linda Finn said she didn’t want to run again Cortvriend “looked around in Portsmouth, and thought ‘Well, why not me?'”

“I think voters deserve a choice. There should be a candidate from each party so that the people of Middletown and Portsmouth have an option. I have a wide range of local experience that I bring to the table.”

Cortvriend is the Founder and CEO of Ocean Link, Inc. (a marine trade business in Melville). She has been a small business owner and employer for over 25 years. Cortvriend has served nine years on the Portsmouth School Committee, and was elected Chair of the committee in 2014. “I am honored to serve with an incredible group of colleagues,” she says, “and thanks to our team’s responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, our teachers, students, and administrators have enjoyed years of fiscal stability.”

Cortvriend serves as a Board Member of the Newport Chamber of Commerce, and as Vice Chair (formerly Chair) of the Portsmouth Tank Farm Redevelopment Advisory Committee. She serves on the Restoration Advisory Board for Naval Station Newport, and on the IYRS Marine System Program Advisory Committee. She served two terms on the Portsmouth Water and Fire District Advisory Board. Cortvriend served on the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee, and on the Portsmouth Charter Review Committee. Terri is proud to be a long-standing member of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee.

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Last year Cortvriend’s opponent, Kenneth Mendonca, introduced a bill that would allow business owners to pay workers under the age of 20 less than minimum wage.

“I’m a small business owner,” said Cortvriend. “And at the moment I am personally paying my employees $15 an hour in my own business. That being said, I have talked to members of the Chamber about this. On the other side, the concern from the business community is that the businesses have to be able to plan for it. The devil’s always in the details. Minimum wage increases should be in an incremental way.”

I noted that every year that the minimum wage doesn’t go up, it goes down, due to inflation.

“Once we get minimum wage to the right level, why wouldn’t we peg it to CPI [Consumer Price Index] or something like that?” suggested Cortvriend.

“I didn’t like what Ken [Mendonca] proposed. I’ve met kids coming out of high school who need to make money – they’re the breadwinners for their family.”

I asked about the record number of women running for office this year, as a reaction to the Trump election. Cortvriend doesn’t see her candidacy as part of that, at least not directly.

“I did go to the Women’s March and I find [Trump] to be highly offensive but I was more influenced by what’s happening here in Rhode Island,” said Cortvriend. “I do believe that we need more equal representation. I’m not saying someone should vote for me because I’m a woman, but I do believe that women are 51 or 52 percent of the population and we should be represented equally.”

Cortvriend is passionate about clean water and other, related environmental issues. “Health care is a human and a business issue,” she added. We pay for health care – it’s embedded into everything.”

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.