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Asian-American activist to run for state Senate seat

Diana Hwang, who founded a group designed to propel Asian-American women into politics, says she will announce her candidacy for the state Senate on Tuesday.

Hwang, 33, is running to replace Senator Anthony Petruccelli, an East Boston Democrat who is stepping down to take a job at a lobbying firm.

“I’m the daughter of immigrants who struggled to stay in the middle class,” said Hwang, an East Boston Democrat. “And that feeling of anxiety, that feeling of insecurity, has always stayed with me. I think that this district deserves, and needs, someone representing them who not only understands their issues and is willing to fight for them, but someone who has really lived that struggle.”


Hwang, whose parents emigrated from Taiwan, grew up in Texas. She was an aide to state Representative Debbie Blumer. After Blumer’s death, Hwang worked as executive director for the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators.

Several state representatives in Petruccelli’s senate district, which includes Revere, Winthrop, and parts of Boston and Cambridge, have passed on running in the race. But state Representative Jay Livingstone, a Beacon Hill Democrat, Lydia Edwards, a lawyer who has a fellowship with Greater Boston Legal Services, and Winthrop lawyer Joseph Boncore have declared their candidacies for the seat.

Hwang, who graduated from Dartmouth College, says she raised more than $50,000 for the race in the final two weeks of December. Former state treasurer Steve Grossman, who made an unsuccessful run for governor in 2014, is on her finance committee, according to Hwang’s campaign.

Hwang’s Asian-American Women’s Political Initiative places young Asian-American women in State House internships and provides them with biweekly training on the workings of government.

She points out her Beacon Hill relationships and says she will focus on health care, education, and addiction treatment, among other issues, if elected to the Senate. The primary is set for April 12 and the general election a month later.


David Scharfenberg can be reached at david.scharfenberg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dscharfGlobe.