We submitted questions to the two candidates for State Representative, incumbent Rep. Denise Provost and opponent Harry Kortikere.
Response by Harry Kortikere
I am a resident of Somerville and am a Ward 3 Committee Member (D) and a State Committee Member (D). I have graduate and undergraduate degrees in Engineering. Prior to joining Harvard Ext to pursue a Management degree, I spent over a decade in technology, business and consulting. I have been actively involved in politics and public policy for over a decade and have been part of various campaigns. I am passionate about helping local and small businesses, trade schools, promoting art and culture in our community, protecting workers rights, women’s rights and preserving our environment. I have supported the work of local organizations like “Groundwork Somerville.” I intend to bring a decade of experience in shaping policies that will help Massachusetts.
As an opponent, what qualifications do you feel you have that makes you the best candidate for State Rep.?
I have been actively involved in politics and pubic policy for over a decade. I have been on various Presidential campaigns in the past, but most recently served as an “Organizing Fellow” with the President’s campaign in Somerville. I have had the opportunity to talk to people about their concerns on jobs, wages, healthcare costs, infrastructure issues and a myriad of other challenges we face today and as a Committee member, have had the opportunity to weigh in on some of these issues. I have spent a decade in technology, business and consulting in the East/West Coast and the challenges that we face today require someone who can offer innovative solutions and bold leadership. My academic background, professional career and policy positions therefore make me the best candidate for State Rep.
What is the number one issue you would address as a State Rep.?
I have put forth several policy positions that are important like helping small businesses and startups, increasing funding for trade schools, adjusting minimum wage for inflation, improving infrastructure, MBTA deficit, term limits, protecting workers rights and women’s rights etc. While all of these are crucial issues that impact all of us, I believe that the most important issue we need to focus on is creating jobs in Massachusetts. While we have a lower unemployment rate than the national average, we also have significant student population graduating from Universities across the State and losing this intellectual talent to brain drain would make us uncompetitive in the long run. We need to have economic and business policies in place that take into account the global world that we live in. This requires re-tooling of our skills, funding for trade schools that fill a skills gap, creation of free trade zones to attract new technology and manufacturing companies to Massachusetts, increasing funding for start ups and making it easier for small businesses to obtain loans. These measures would increase revenue to the State in the long run, so we can adequately fund education, infrastructure and other critical needs of the State.
Do you believe in term limits and why?
James Madison in his speech at the Virginia constitutional convention in 1829 stated that “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” I take this quote to heart and have therefore made term limits a cornerstone of my campaign platform. Power concentrated in the hands of a few over time leads to entrenched interests that are resistant to change, stymies new ideas and is inherently unhealthy for a Democracy in the long run. I believe that being elected to public office is a privilege and that all elected officials should pledge for term limits so as to give other members in the community an opportunity to get involved in shaping public policy. If elected, I will commit to term limits and propose such legislation!
Comment (anything you would like to add)
It has been privilege for me during this campaign to have had the opportunity to meet the residents of this wonderful city. I humbly ask for your support during the Primary on Thursday, September 6.