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Lydia Edwards endorses Shannon Liss-Riordan in US Senate race

Shannon Liss-Riordan (left) and Lydia Edwards.
Shannon Liss-Riordan (left) and Lydia Edwards. Jim Davis (left) and Barry Chin/Globe staff/file/Globe Staff

Labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan nabbed a notable endorsement as she campaigns to unseat Senator Edward J. Markey in the Democratic primary next fall: Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards.

“Massachusetts and this country need Shannon in the Senate, fighting for workers and holding abusive corporations accountable, as she has every day over the last 20 years as a champion for working people,” Edwards said in a statement announcing the endorsement. “I support Shannon because she has been there for waitresses, baristas, janitors, drivers, and working people across the country. She’s never forgotten about those whose battles she has fought and she won’t forget about you.”

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In an interview with the Globe, Edwards said she first got to know Liss-Riordan a decade ago when Edwards started volunteering at the Brazilian Workers Center in Allston. When the clinic got overwhelmed or needed advice, “there was always Shannon,” said Edwards, an East Boston lawyer who will start her second Council term in January.

“She has been a constant and advocate for me,” Edwards said, crediting Liss-Riordan with helping her forge her path as a workers rights advocate, long before Edwards got into politics.

“I know her work and her heart the most of the candidates” running for Senate, said Edwards, who represents Charlestown, the North End, and East Boston. “Shannon is the closest to me and my interest and my experience than any of the candidates running.”

Liss-Riordan, who launched her primary challenge against Markey in May, built a career and national reputation representing waiters, fast-food workers, drivers, exotic dancers, cleaners, and other low-paid workers who allege wage theft and misclassification as independent contractors by their employers. She has gained national attention for her legal efforts on behalf of workers against Amazon, Google, FedEx, and Starbucks.

The Brookline Democrat’s candidacy was overshadowed by the entrance of Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III into the primary, a move that roiled Democratic circles in Massachusetts and Washington, and attracted national media attention.

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Liss-Riordan said her campaign is going “fabulously,” and that she is building support on the ground across the state.

“I am offering myself as an alternative for those people who don’t think that the way things are going in Washington are working,” pitching herself as a new voice with the “courage and guts” to take on powerful entrenched interests, she said in a telephone interview.

When people tell her they like Liss-Riordan but they don’t think she can win, Edwards told the Globe that she tells them that Liss-Riordan has “taken on bigger odds than the US Senate. She’s the person I’m betting on in all of the big fights.”


Victoria McGrane can be reached at victoria.mcgrane@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.