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Levin-Epstein bids for Senate seat

By BERA DUNAU


LONGMEADOW — Sydney Levin-Epstein has entered the race for the Democratic nomination for the Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester district, and the 26-year-old political staffer is passionate about economic development in the western part of the state.

“I’m seeing so many of my peers leave western Massachusetts,” said Levin-Epstein.

And she said people grow up or go to school in the area, and then leave for jobs in Boston or New York.


“I don’t think it has to be that way,” she said.


Levin-Epstein’s family were the owners of Jonathan’s Sports World in Hadley, which closed when she was in college due to competition from big box stores, the candidate said.

“When our family store closed it was incredibly heartbreaking and challenging to cope with,” she said.


Levin-Epstein also said that this drives her commitment to economic development in the area.


A graduate of Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, Levin-Epstein said the school taught her the audacity to believe in herself. She’s also a graduate of George Washington University.


Levin-Epstein has worked as a staffer for U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and for the senator’s re-election campaign, and as a staffer for Sen. Jon Ossoff’s successful campaign for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. Before this she was an intern for Markey and for Congressman Richard Neal, D-Springfield.


“I really did work my way up in the Hill,” said Levin-Epstein.


Levin-Epstein has also worked a number of second jobs in her professional career, such as Tweety Bird at Six Flags New England and scooping ice cream at Friendly’s. She noted that this is an experience shared by others in the area, and that she would like people to not have to work second jobs to make ends meet in western Massachusetts.


“We need better jobs in western Massachusetts,” she said.


On what those jobs might look like, she expressed an interest in attracting biotechnology companies to the western part of the state.


“Kendall Square is crowded,” she said.


Levin-Epstein also said that she’s interested in combating the opioid epidemic and putting east-west rail into place.


She said that east-west rail will “transform our economy” and that she’s excited to be part of the movement to fight for it. East-west rail is a key priority championed by Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, whose district the Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester District is succeeding, and who is running for lieutenant governor this year.


The Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester district includes South Hadley, Belchertown and Granby in Hampshire County. It also includes Longmeadow, where Levin-Epstein lives.

“I’m so thankful for the support of my community across the district,”Levin-Epstein said.

Currently, Rep. Jacob Oliveira, D-Ludlow, is also running for the Democratic nomination for the state Senate seat and East Longmeadow Republican John Harding has filed paperwork to run to represent the district.


Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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