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Carole King will perform at virtual fundraiser for state senator candidate Sydney Levin-Epstein

By Alison Kuznitz

Grammy Award-winning singer Carole King will perform at a virtual fundraiser event for a state senator candidate next month.

King, who also happens to be a Sydney Levin-Epstein supporter, will headline the virtual May 11 event, according to a flyer shared with MassLive. Featured guests include Mary Hurley, the former Springfield mayor and outgoing member of the Governor’s Council; Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, a former state representative who’s now the Hampden County Register of Deeds; Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle; and Paula Meara, the former Springfield police chief.

Levin-Epstein, a political strategist and former aide to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, announced her candidacy for the Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester Senate district in February. She faces state Rep. Jake Oliveira in the race to succeed state Sen. Eric Lesser, who is running for lieutenant governor.

“Western Massachusetts has long been overlooked and forgotten by Beacon Hill insiders,” Levin-Epstein told MassLive. “My campaign is focused on uplifting and empowering the people of the 413 to the point where it will be impossible to ignore. This is an event with the iconic Carole King, but also four of some of the most amazing women leaders in Western Massachusetts, proves that point. I am building a diverse coalition to put forward innovative and creative policies to ensures that west of (Interstate) 495 is never again treated as Narnia to Boston insiders.”

Tickets for Levin-Epstein’s virtual fundraiser range from $18 for students to $1,000 for hosts. Other tickets prices are $100 for “friends,” $250 for supporters, $500 for “champions” and $800 for chairs. More details about the fundraiser will be announced soon, Levin-Epstein said.

Levin-Epstein had $20,647.07 in cash on hand at the end of March, according to campaign finance reports. Meanwhile, Oliveira had $23,248.03 in cash on hand at the end of March.

Much the same as Lesser, Levin-Epstein is an outspoken advocate for commuter rail linking Boston to Worcester and Springfield, and potentially to Pittsfield. But unlike Lesser, she calls the project West-East rail, not East-West rail, in an effort to place the emphasis on Western Massachusetts.

“Western Massachusetts needs a persistent voice and reliable leader to ensure that appropriate funding comes home, and I have the federal and state legislative experience to get the job done,” Levin-Epstein said when she announced her candidacy. “The 413 needs an unwavering voice in Boston who will fight to get our fair share of state funding. As your State Senator, I will deliver for our communities to create more jobs, combat the opioid epidemic, and finally connect our commonwealth with West-East rail.”

Oliveira, who’s serving his first term in the Legislature, pledged to bring his strong local government experience — including 12 years on the Ludlow School Committee — should he win the Senate bid.

“I think my experience locally, my advocacy as an outsider to Beacon Hill, my experience getting real dollars and real results for my district over the last year or so makes me a perfect candidate to run for the district,” Oliveira said when he announced his campaign in February.

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