Sydney Levin-Epstein, a former Ed Markey aide, is running for Sen. Eric Lesser’s seat
Political campaign strategist Sydney Levin-Epstein will jockey for a prominent state Senate seat that is wide open, with Sen. Eric Lesser seeking the lieutenant governor post.
Levin-Epstein, a former assistant to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, officially launched her campaign for the Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester Senate district Tuesday, less than a week after state Rep. Jake Oliveira became the first candidate to enter the race to replace Lesser.
Levin-Epstein, a Longmeadow native, signaled she’ll do the same in her Senate run — except she refers to the proposed commuter rail linking Boston, Worcester and Springfield as West-East rail.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Levin-Epstein, 26, said she’s the same age Lesser was when he filed to run for Senate. Levin-Epstein told MassLive she is asking voters to “join a movement to help create a prosperous and strong future here in the 413.”
Levin-Epstein is currently the director of strategic partnerships at GiveBlue, a digital platform for managing Democratic campaigns. Most recently before that, Levin-Epstein served as campaign manager for Revere School Committee member Anthony D’Ambrosio, who lost to Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards in a special Senate election to replace Joe Boncore.
She’s also worked as the finance director for the Jewish Democratic Council of America, national events director for Jon Ossoff’s Senate campaign, and deputy national finance director for Markey’s last Senate campaign.
Levin-Epstein holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University. She also attended Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School in South Hadley and Springfield Technical Community College.
In 2011, she held the title of Miss Massachusetts’ Outstanding Teen. A decade later, she was named Miss Western Massachusetts.
In her campaign announcement, Levin-Epstein touted her political resume, featuring her work in the 413 for Markey and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal. But she also noted the smattering of other jobs she’s held to make ends meet.
During her time on Capitol Hill during the 114th, 115th and 116th congressional sessions, Levin-Epstein worked as a restaurant hostess and “babysat for every family she could find,” her campaign said. When she came home to Western Massachusetts to help Lesser’s campaign, she dressed up as Tweety Bird at Six Flags New England and scooped ice cream at Friendly’s.
Levin-Epstein told MassLive she grew up behind the counter of her family’s business, Jonathan’s Sports World in Hadley. But competition from big box retailers forced the store to close, and Levin-Epstein’s father became a TSA employee at Bradley International Airport.
“When we had to make the difficult decision to close the doors of our family business, we could no longer afford health care — and it was so painful and it was difficult,” Levin-Epstein told MassLive. “But that’s what drives my passion to help build and focus on the economic growth of Western Massachusetts.”