Tuesday, voters in East Boston and the rest of the First Suffolk & Middlesex district went to the polls and elected City Councilor Lydia Edwards to serve as their next state senator. Once sworn in Edwards will become the first woman and the first person of color to represent the district.
“I am grateful to the people of Boston, Cambridge, Revere and Winthrop for sending me to Beacon Hill to fight for our communities,” said Senator-Elect Edwards. “I know how to fight for what you believe in, build a movement and win, and I am looking forward to continuing the work in the state house. When in 2014 we passed the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, we showed the world that nannies and house cleaners can write laws: they know as workers, as women, as immigrants and people of color, about the dignity they deserve and they know when our government needs to do more to guarantee their rights and wellbeing.”
Edwards continued, “Like so many in our communities, I know what it’s like to be unable to afford school lunch, to lose a job and panic about next month’s rent, to live each day breathing in air pollution and to worry about tomorrow as the sea levels continue to rise. Together, with our pain and purpose, we will fight for laws and the social conditions that protect people, communities and our planet. I am excited for the journey ahead.”
The election took place across the district during Tuesday’s frigid state general election and included Wards and Precincts in the North End, Eastie, Beacon Hill, Bay Village, Chinatown, the South End, Revere, Winthrop and Cambridgeport. With no Republican challenger on the ballot Edwards’s win was all but guaranteed Tuesday.
Edwards beat Revere School Committee member Anthony D’Ambrosio during the December 14 state Democratic Primary to fill the seat left vacant in the fall by Joe Boncore.
Edwards won every Precinct in the North End and beat D’Ambrosio nearly 80 to 20 in the rest of Boston’s Wards and Precincts. While D’Ambrosio won his hometown of Revere handidly Edwards was able to pull out a victory in the hotly contested Town of Winthrop–winning all but one Precinct in the town.
Edwards is a career advocate, activist, and voice on behalf of society’s most vulnerable. She was raised all over the world by her military mom but chose to make Eastie her home.
Prior to her public service, Edwards worked extensively in the legal field and on workers rights. She worked as a public interest attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services focusing on labor issues such as fighting for access to unemployment insurance, back wages, fair treatment for domestic workers, and combating human trafficking. At GBLS, she proudly became a member of UAW 2320. She coordinated a statewide campaign to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2014 – and won.
She was subsequently appointed the founding Deputy Director of the Boston Office of Housing Stability and worked to prevent evictions and foreclosures in Boston, to strengthen local and state laws and to resolve landlord-tenant disputes.
In 2017, she won election to the Boston City Council. As a councilor, she wrote and advanced legislation to protect low-income renters and elder homeowners, combat discrimination, divest from fossil fuels, and protect civil liberties. She also partnered with state leaders to introduce legislation and passed a new state law prohibiting the naming of minors in eviction proceedings.
In addition to legislation, Edwards spearheaded a ballot initiative to reform the 1909 Boston Charter by enabling a more open and participatory budgetary process–an initiative which passed with over 68 percent of voters casting a ballot in support.
Edwards was raised by her mother, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Lydia graduated from American University Washington College of Law and received a LLM in taxation from Boston University School of Law. She lives in Eastie and loves to run along the waterfront, practice martial arts, and sometimes, she even skydives.