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Liss-Riordan formally launches campaign for Mass. attorney general

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor attorney, launched her campaign to be Massachusetts attorney general.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe/The Boston Globe

Democrat Shannon Liss-Riordan, a prominent labor lawyer and former candidate for US Senate, announced a bid for Massachusetts attorney general Tuesday.

Liss-Riordan is aiming to succeed Attorney General Maura Healey, who last week launched a campaign for governor.

”The people need a champion,” Liss-Riordan said at her campaign announcement Tuesday, standing outside the South Boston union hall of Ironworkers Local 7, which endorsed her. “We need someone to push our legal system to be better, to enforce and reform our laws.”

She listed issues people in Massachusetts are facing: Income inequality, a shortage of available and affordable child care, national threats to reproductive rights, and big businesses taking advantage of workers and consumers.


“The role of the attorney general is to be an advocate and a resource for the people, to be the people’s law firm, and deliver meaningful change,” Liss-Riordan said. “My life’s work has been taking on the biggest threats on behalf of the people who need it the most . . . Now I’m ready to do more.”

Other candidates could soon join the Democratic primary field for attorney general including Quentin Palfrey, who served in the Obama and Biden administrations and was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018; and former Boston city councilor Andrea Campbell, who placed third in last year’s race for mayor.

Liss-Riordan, a Brookline Democrat, has carved out a career representing workers who have accused their employers of wage theft and misclassification as independent contractors, from restaurant workers and janitors to ride-share drivers and sex workers. She has taken large companies to court, including Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, and Amazon, arguing that the tech giants are misclassifying workers who should be employees to avoid regulations around pay and benefits. She attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School.


In 2019, Liss-Riordan launched a primary bid against Senator Edward J. Markey, but dropped out of the race after eight months, having struggled to gain traction against her better-known opponents in a field that also included then-Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III. Markey ultimately won reelection.

During her run for Senate, Liss-Riordan loaned her campaign about $3 million. As of Dec. 31 she had about $159,000 in cash on hand, according to the most recent state campaign finance data. That’s about on par with Palfrey, who said in July he was exploring a run for attorney general. He had about $136,000 in his campaign account at the end of last month.

Gal Tziperman Lotan is a former Globe staff member.