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Longmeadow Democrat Sydney Levin-Epstein launches campaign for state Senate seat

WAMC Northeast Public Radio | By Paul Tuthill


Platform includes job creation, "west-east rail."

A new candidate has joined the race for an open seat in the State Senate from western Massachusetts.


Democrat Sydney Levin-Epstein of Longmeadow announced her candidacy Tuesday for the Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester Senate district. The incumbent, Eric Lesser, is running for lieutenant governor.


Levin-Epstein is a former assistant to U.S. Senator Ed Markey and has worked as a campaign manager, political strategist, and fund-raiser.


Her announcement comes a few days after State Representative Jake Oliveira of Ludlow became the first Democrat to enter the race for the open Senate seat.

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Levin-Epstein.


Sydney Levin-Epstein

Well, I'm running for State Senate because I want to build our community so that people who want to stay can stay. That means creating more jobs, combating the opioid epidemic and connecting Massachusetts through west east rail,


Paul Tuthill

What are the key issues in your campaign?


Sydney Levin-Epstein

Focusing on job creation, and the better jobs that are here, you know, I grew up behind the counter of my family's small business in Hadley on Route 9 Jonathan Sports World. And when big box stores moved in next to and behind us, making it almost impossible to afford health care, we had to make the difficult decision to close our doors. And that was incredibly painful and financially horrible to deal with. But my story unfortunately, isn't unique in Western Mass, there are any small business families who know this reality deeply. And that's what drives my commitment to economic development in the 413. So I'm focused on bringing better jobs here that provide health care, and a sustainable future. Most people who live in Western Mass work two jobs to make ends meet. And I don't think it needs to be that way. And that's just one of the ways that I plan on helping to create our region, an area where people next generation can stay living and thriving here, do you


Paul Tuthill

Are there specific programs that you would like to see that would help create more jobs, more opportunities for better jobs in Western Massachusetts ?


Sydney Levin-Epstein

Of course, I look forward to partnering with several key industries that are looking to expand. You know, a couple of years ago, the largest industry in Massachusetts was cannabis. And we've seen the dispensaries pop up. But I don't know about you, I don't think we need one more dispensary in the area, what I would like to see is the future of the biotechnology industry moving. That's the next growing industry in Massachusetts and a huge job creator. Now I know plenty of open mill spaces and office spaces here in the 413. That would warmly welcome these companies that I'm planning to be that bridge, I'm looking forward to bringing our future the future of jobs here and home.


Paul Tuthill

How do you convince a biotech company to come to Western Massachusetts? There have been attempts made at it. But for one reason or another, they still, these industries still all cluster around the greater Boston area.

Sydney Levin-Epstein It's expensive to continue for these companies to operate in Kendall Square, they're fighting over, they're fighting over office space, they're fighting over lab space. And with the expansion of west east rail, bringing these companies home, we're going to actually be bringing these companies our way we will be able to not only make the pitch, but to see that reality happen. I've spoken with so many of the biotech Titans that are sitting in Cambridge in Boston, they've heard my pitch and they're ready to see what we have to offer. And this is a fight where I won't back down because it is the future of Massachusetts, the future of jobs, and we're going to bring them here to Western Mass.


Paul Tuthill

How would you describe your political ideology?


Sydney Levin-Epstein

It's driven by people over politics. You know, I've been around the political universe, but the majority of my career has been focused on legislative and legislative work. And I'm excited to bring that experience to the forefront of this campaign to help voters see the policies that can act as solutions to support our lives.


Paul Tuthill

This district includes Longmeadow where your home is, a part of the city of Springfield, and then stretches all the way out into Warren in in Worcester County. How familiar are you with district as it's been reconfigured a bit now through the through the redistricting process for the 2022 election?


Sydney Levin-Epstein

Well, this district raised me. I grew up in Longmeadow. I went to high school in South Hadley. My mom works in Springfield, my girlfriend's live in Warren. I am excited for the opportunity to serve a district I know so well, and played a key role in me becoming the woman I am today.


Paul Tuthill

There was some discussion during the redistricting process of perhaps having Springfield, represented by just a single state senator. It was decided that there would still be two state senators, although the district that you're running in contains considerably less of the city of Springfield than the former district. Do you do agree that Springfield have to two voices in the State Senate?


Sydney Levin-Epstein

Yes. I think that the way redistricting happened, you know, I, I was not a part of this conversation because you know, I'm a new candidate here. So I see how the redistricting lines came out and I'm excited to run for the district in front of me and serve every constituent and person living here.


Paul Tuthill

As someone who's been a campaign manager or a campaign strategist, what's your strategy for winning the Democratic nomination here?


Sydney Levin-Epstein

We're building a people powered movement that's putting politics aside focusing on what is the most important aspect to our neighbors you know, I want better jobs here. i We need to combat this opioid epidemic and we've got to get west east rail built and happening. My family gets this, my friends get this, our communities are supportive of this. So it's gonna be an exciting opportunity to push the pillars of our campaign forward, while also uniting a geographically diverse district.


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