Tufts alum Sciortino runs for reelection this November
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 02:09
From biology major at Tufts to member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Carl Sciortino (LA ’00) has followed an unexpected career path. Sciortino is the incumbent state representative for the 34th Middlesex District, which includes parts of Medford and Somerville.
This self-proclaimed “bio geek” in college was inspired to become involved in politics after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of the legalization of same sex marriage in 2004.
“Just after the same-sex marriage court case ruling came down in support of marriage equality, some friends and I met with our rep, Vincent Ciampa,” Sciortino said.
As an openly gay individual, Sciortino hoped that Ciampa would be in favor of the ruling.
“It was clear to me that he was not supportive, as he proceeded not just to disagree with but insult my friends and I that were at the meeting with him,” Sciortino said. “We left quite frustrated.”
It was then that Rachel Berry (LA ’00), a good friend of Sciortino, suggested that he do something about it.
“She turned to me after the meeting and said, ‘You like this political stuff, you should run against him,’” Sciortino said.
He did, and with successful results. Sciortino was elected to the House in 2004, and seeks reelection this year after eight years as State Representative. Throughout his tenure in the state legislature, he has focused on issues such as improving access to healthcare, ensuring same-sex marriage equality and supporting the local communities.
In his current campaign, Sciortino foresees a major debate surrounding the rising costs of public transportation.
“I think that the biggest issue -— not only in this district and our neighborhood but also statewide — during this session is going to be transportation finance, and more broadly how we generate revenue to fund the services that we’ve come to expect from state government,” he said.
Sciortino emphasized the importance of holding frequent meetings at local homes to stay in tune with his community.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time going to people’s homes and holding small gatherings with people,” Sciortino said. “It’s a real pleasure to spend a significant amount of time having these in-depth conversations with constituents. It’s been very rewarding.”
Staying in touch with the community has always been important to Sciortino, who holds regular office hours throughout the year in order to remain approachable to the public. However, he finds that connecting with the local population is very different as a politician than as a Tufts student.
“As a student, it was a lot easier to know how to get involved,” Sciortino said. “There’s an Office of Student Life,
a lot of student organizations and a clear path in how to get involved in the community.”
Sciortino has loved the Medford/Somerville community ever since moving here.
“[It’s] a really vibrant city, very diverse, very socially and civically active,” he said. “It’s a great place to live.”
This love for the area, coupled with the values he learned at Tufts, inspired a determination to become involved in the Medford/Somerville community even after he graduated from Tufts.
“It was important to me to be persistent and to figure out what my niche was and to volunteer in the community groups, and to know that there was a role for active citizenship in the real world, not just the bubble of Tufts’ campus,” Sciortino said.
Active citizenship and student activism were two things that truly defined Sciortino’s experience as a Tufts student, particularly concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.
“I came out just before entering college, and I was determined to both be comfortable with myself and also make sure that my campus was a safe place for all students,” Sciortino said. “I decided to get very involved in student activism as an LGBT student.”