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- Harkins serves as Representative of the 13th Norfolk District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
- Harkins is the chair of the Boston Network for Women in Politics and Government, and is the board member of the Charles River Association for Retarded Citizens.
- She served for six years as the member of the Needham School Committee prior to being elected to the legislature.
- First elected to the legislature in 1989, she has been the House Majority Whip since 2001.