Candidate Biographies

Tobon | KazarianNewberry | Shekarchi | Ottiano

Carlos Tobon
(Class of 2014)

Carlos Tobon is a candidate for State Representative in the neighborhoods of Fairlawn and Woodlawn Pawtucket (District 58).

A lifelong Pawtucket resident, civic engagement has always been a large part of Carlos’ life for many years. His first job was as a paperboy for the Pawtucket Times, and he is a proud member of the Pawtucket Teen Hall of Fame. In 1999, he had the honor of serving Rhode Island as a Senate Page to the late U.S. Senator John Chafee. In the community, Carlos serves on the United Way advisory council, and on the boards of the Rhode Island Welcome Back Center and Books are Wings.

Carlos takes pride in being a businessman and an entrepreneur. He currently works with the established local insurance firm Troy, Pires & Allen, as well as his own business, CET Investments. He is currently developing a parcel of land in Central Falls called the Landing into an outdoor bar and entertainment facility, built entirely from shipping containers.

At the State House, Carlos will fight for small businesses and economic recovery in Rhode Island. He will cut red tape and make it easier for businesses to incorporate and grow in the Ocean State, while work to create a climate where the many great companies our state already hosts can grow and prosper. As someone who both owns and insures companies, Carlos will bring a vital perspective on creating jobs and promoting economic development to the State House.



Katherine Kazarian
(Class of November 2012)

Katherine Kazarian, a lifelong East Providence resident, won a four-way primary for State Representative from Rumford (District 63) in 2012. Earlier that year, she graduated from Columbia University with degrees in Urban Studies and Economics. In her first year in the assembly, Kazarian took direct aim at unnecessary state bureaucracy. She sponsored a new law abolishing the Board of Bank Incorporation, a state body that hadn’t met in years. While in college, Katherine was a member of Columbia University’s Peace by P.E.A.C.E. volunteer organization, traveling to homeless shelters and public schools in Harlem to teach conflict resolution skills and conduct community workshops. She has also worked at Rhode Island Public Broadcasting and a private attorney’s office. Until recently she paid her bills as a hard working waitress.

Katherine is running for re-election as State Representative in Rumford (District 63).


Brian Newberry
(Class of November 2012)

First elected in 2008, Brian C. Newberry represents House District 48 which includes North Smithfield and Burrillville. He is the Minority Leader of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. A champion of lower taxes, reduced regulation and limited government, Newberry believes that the General Assembly’s top priority must be to change the business climate in the state as a way to encourage growth in private sector employment. He has consistently maintained that Rhode Island’s myopic focus on all too often fighting over how to divide up the pie has been a major distraction from the much more desirable goal of growing the pie in a way that would benefit everyone.

Newberry is a 1989 graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall, a 1993 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in American History and Urban Studies and a 1996 Magna Cum Laude Graduate of Temple University School of Law. He is a partner in the law firm of Donovan Hatem LLP where his practice concentrates in professional malpractice defense, primarily representing architects, engineers, accountants and lawyers as well as construction law generally and commercial litigation. He is admitted to the bar in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. He and his wife Beth live with their three children in North Smithfield.

Joe Shekarchi
(Class of November 2012)

A life-long resident of Warwick who has actively worked to improve the business climate in the City and throughout Rhode Island for his entire professional life, Joe was elected to serve as a State Representative in Warwick's District 23 in his first run for public office.

Joe was recently selected to serve as chairman of the key House Labor Committee, an unprecedented appointment for a first term legislator. Joe’s leadership and consensus building skills were also on display recently when he successfully broke the political impasse surrounding the long-delayed runway expansion at T.F. Green Airport. He personally worked to create a comprehensive community benefits plan that was instrumental in ultimately obtaining the unanimous support of the Warwick City Council for the crucial project.

Shekarchi attended Randall Holden Elementary School, as well as Hoxsie Elementary School, Mount St. Charles Academy and Suffolk University in Boston, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in government. He also graduated from Suffolk University Law School in 1990.

Joe currently practices law at his office at 33 College Hill Road. He has been instrumental in expanding Warwick’s tax base and creating jobs -- working to bring two Washington Trust Bank branches to Warwick, two Lowe’s stores, relocate Herb Chambers Cadillac to Warwick and expand Balise Auto and develop their second facility on Jefferson Boulevard. The Balise expansion project alone represents an $8 million private sector investment in the City.

Joe is also very attentive to the needs of Warwick’s senior citizens. “Seniors are both the conscience and lifeblood of our community, and we all need to help provide them with safe, affordable housing.”