Terri Cortvriend, a Democrat and the chair of the Portsmouth School Committee since 2014, is running for House District 72, currently held by Republican Ken Mendonca.
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,” Cortvriend said in a statement released this morning. “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.”
A former yacht captain who now owns a marine plumbing business in Melville, a popular harbor on the northwest side of Aquidneck Island, Cortvriend came up through the fo’c’sle in Portsmouth politics. She describes herself as “a proud to be a long-standing member of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee” who served on the town Charter Review Commission, the Water and Fire District Advisory Board, and the Economic Advisory Committee. She’s also a board member of the Newport Chamber of Commerce.
“For the past decade, Terri has grown her civic participation with an eye towards increasing her skills and her effectiveness in bringing about positive change,” according to a press release from her campaign. “Terri is ready to serve and promises to channel her considerable Committee, Board, business skills and experience into representing the people of Middletown and Portsmouth in the Rhode Island State House as their District 72 State Representative.”
Cortvriend was also an early opponent of lunch shaming. The Portsmouth School Committee prohibited the practice of serving students cold cheese sandwiches if parents had not paid their lunch bill in 2017, before lunch shaming was widely understood in Rhode Island.
“The intent is that we don’t want to embarrass anybody,” she told RI Future in April. “The students will get the same lunch options regardless. We will ask the parents for the money and if we don’t get it we will write it off as bad debt.”
Mendonca, the incumbent, is known among progressives for authoring a bill that would create a lower minimum wage for teenagers.