On Saturday, flanked by a group of local supporters in Central Square, District 1 City Councilor Lydia Edwards officially launched her campaign for the First Suffolk & Middlesex State Senate seat recently vacated by Joe Boncore. A Special Election for the seat has been set for Tuesday, December 14.
Speaking of her successes as a district city councilor, her advocacy for her constituents and her ability to bring all people together to address the most pressing issues as qualifications for the seat Edwards began, “It has been the coalition that we’ve built that is based on working families and working people of all colors and all abilities to come together and bring a true coalition all the way to the State House.”
“My name is Lydia Edwards, and I am running officially as of right now, to be your next state senator,” she declared.
Edwards said before she was a city councilor or a human rights attorney or an activist she was a little girl her mom called ‘Liddy’ and it was her mom’s ethics and abilities that inspired her to take on a life of public service.
“I watched her,” said Edwards. “My mother worked two jobs to make sure that myself and my twin sister we’re well fed and had a roof over our head. My mother is a retired US Air Force veteran who fought for this country. She joined during Vietnam, and left during Iraq (1991)–that was a majority of my childhood. I watched my mother put on her combat boots or put on her heels and proudly be the patriotic woman that she is. I also watched my mother come home after she retired, and try to make it and pay bills on the then minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. That’s why she had two jobs and a part time job on the weekend. I had a job and my sister had a job. I know what it’s like to pull together to pay for those bills and every single one of us knows someone in this district in our community who is doing the same thing right now.”
While Edwards said her mom was the most influential person in her life because she taught her how to serve, it was also the area in which she grew up that taught the value of community.
“What inspired me to get into the law was the community that wrapped themselves around me–who helped my family financially and would leave money in our mailbox if we needed it anonymously, and let me know to keep going and to keep dreaming,” she said.
Edwards became a legal services attorney after graduating law school and it was then she began to roll up her sleeves and fight for social justices and equity.
“It is something to sit there and represent and fight for somebody who has nothing, who may not know their own value and have been treated with total disrespect,” she said. “That is the fighter you have in me. That is why I got into politics. I was actually fighting for domestic workers, fighting for those women who had no rights, and changing the law in that process. What I want to do is serve. I see this job as a matter of service at a different level and I know the voters will choose the level of service I’m supposed to do for this community. I love this district. I love East Boston, specifically because I became a homeowner here. I know what it’s like to rent and not have the money. I also know what it’s like to be a landlord. It’s that perspective and that pathway that allows me to represent this district the best. We built coalitions with people who were technically supposed to be on the opposite sides (of an issue) and have them come together to create beautiful things, beautiful laws and make them all feel valued when they leave my office.”
Edwards said advocacy has defined her tenure as a Boston City Councilor.
“It is who I am,” she said. “Advocacy has been necessary to make sure that we as a community are still a neighborhood. You want to know what I’m gonna do as your Senator, look at what I’ve done for East Boston so far. The fight against the (Eversource) substation, holding Massport accountable. We need to make sure that we have a senator who is unafraid. Matter of fact, we need a Senator who is fearless. I am those things. Most importantly, you’re not interested in someone who could come up with academic ideas and a bunch of wonderful things to talk about, you want someone who can bring it home and get things done and I can do that and I have done that.”
Saturday’s kickoff was also an opportunity for Edwards to get residents to think about volunteering for her campaign. After the announcement supporters canvassed the neighborhood for Edwards.
“I will fight for you in the State House,” she said “I cannot do this campaign alone. I will need each and every single one of you. This is a grassroots campaign. Like all the other campaigns we run it takes talking to each other. It’s going to take meeting each other where we are. It’s going to take everything we got because it’s on December 14 that we will be deciding who the next senator is for the First Suffolk & Middlesex district and with your help, it will be me. With your help, it will be all of us going to the State House. This is about our future and I need you to fight for it. I need you to not only vote for it but to make the calls for it and to knock on the doors throughout the district. I am honored to serve you as your city councilor, it would be the greatest honor to serve you as your senator.”