Diana Hwang, a resident of East Boston, founder of the Asian-American Women’s Political Initiative, and former State House staffer, announced her candidacy to replace Anthony Petruccelli in the Democratic primary special election for Massachusetts’ First Suffolk and Middlesex State Senate District.
“I’m running for State Senate because a district as diverse as ours needs someone who understands its needs and fights for every community and constituency,” said Hwang. “As the daughter of immigrants, my story is the story of this district. I’ve worked for my entire career within the system to change the system and I know first-hand the power government has to improve our lives.”
Ileana Cintron, an East Boston activist and member of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee, has endorsed Diana Hwang in this race.
“I’m excited and honored to support Diana’s campaign and lifelong mission of increasing access to government and giving voice to those who don’t feel heard or represented,” said Cintron, “Diana has built relationships and has the know-how and political savvy to solve problems and get things done. She will make a strong Senator and bring a new energy and voice for the people of this district.”
Diana also announced today that her campaign raised over $50,000 in the last two weeks of 2015, an unusually strong showing for a first-time candidate.
“Diana is one of our brightest and most committed young progressive leaders. She has almost 10 years’ experience advocating for women, immigrants, and working families and has done so across three very different sectors: state government, city government, and non-profits. And Diana has already shown her commitment to running a strong campaign by raising more than $50,000 during the last two weeks of December. She will have the resources needed to win an incredibly short special election,” said Former Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman, who will serve on Hwang’s finance committee.
Diana began her career as the sole staff member to the late State Representative Debbie Blumer where she drafted and guided key legislative proposals on immigrants’ rights and affordable health care. After Rep. Blumer’s untimely death, Diana served as Executive Director for the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, where she promoted legislation on critical issues to women and families such as healthcare, domestic violence and public education.
In 2008, seeing the lack of opportunities for Asian-American women in politics, Diana created the Asian-American Women’s Political Initiative (AAWPI). It was the country’s first leadership initiative specifically focused on getting Asian-American women into politics. Over the last 6 years, nearly 50 young women completed a State House fellowship and mentoring program. Most have gone on to work on political campaigns, in legislative offices, or in other politically active roles.
The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Diana Hwang has also previously served as chief-of-staff to an At-Large Boston City Councilor. Outside of work, Diana has been a leading advocate for women in Massachusetts, serving as Board member of the Center for Women in Politics (UMass); as co-chair of the Boston Women’s Fund; and as a founding commissioner for Mayor Marty Walsh’s Women’s Commission. Diana currently lives in East Boston’s Orient Heights neighborhood and previously lived in Revere.
State Senator Anthony Petruccelli announced last month that he would be leaving the State Senate to take a new job, setting up a special election on May 10. The Democratic primary will be held on Tuesday April 12. Massachusetts’ First Suffolk and Middlesex state senate district includes Revere, Winthrop and parts of Cambridge and Boston, including East Boston, Beacon Hill, North End, Chinatown, Bay Village, West End and Waterfront.