An Interview with Jamie Silvestri
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself in the district you’re running in?
I’m running in District 10, which includes Huntington and a bit of Farmingdale. I was born in Huntington hospital, I’m a lifelong Huntington resident! I attended Trinity Regional School, Holy Family Regional School, and graduated from St. Anthony’s High School in 2008. During this, I was always involved with different activities, from the National Honor Society to the tracking golf team. Throughout my college career, I had the opportunity to be a marketing intern at WWE, where I learned about organizational functions and cross-functional teamwork skills. I also became a member of Theta Phi Alpha National Sorority, a focus of ours was philanthropy.
I graduated from Farmingdale State College in 2016, with a BS in Professional Communications and earned a membership to Lambda Pi ADA, a National Communication Association. In addition, I was on the President’s list for academic achievement.
I’ve always worked for small business owners throughout the Huntington area, I got my first job at 16 years old working for a physical therapist. It was a very rewarding experience to witness the recovery of patients. It was also good insight at a young age to see how the medical industry worked. Currently, I’m an office manager at RSP Financial Group, in Melville. We help people prepare for their financial future. We get to support small business owners, see their dreams realized for the first time and provide financial guidance, which is amazing. And then sometimes you’re helping people through bad times, where they’ve lost a family member, or go through state issues. The work is reassuring, knowing that we’re helping people. That’s always been the main focus of my career path.
My family has always been very involved in the town. My grandfather is a firefighter and part of the construction union. He’s been there since the 50s. My grandmother was the first generation here, her father came from Germany, her mother came from Ireland. They immediately settled in Huntington, and she’s lived here ever since. My mother is a substitute teacher in Half Hollow Hills. So, our love for this town runs deep.
I am fairly new to the political game, I got involved because of the criminal bail reform. Essentially, it’s the catch and release of criminals in the state, which means that they are putting the safety of taxpaying residents last. When criminals are released from jail, they’re getting Metro cards, prepaid phone cards, etc. They’re receiving all these luxuries that people who are paying taxes are fitting footing the bill for. And it’s just absolutely insane, that people who have committed outrageous violent crimes such as, hate crimes or robbery or molestation of a child, can get out the same day, and this isn’t a problem for anyone.
How is Covid-19 affecting your community?
It is absolutely vile. Since we’ve been struck by COVID-19, I’ve been seeing news reports about people who have been locked up for violently attacking emergency medical services or police officers. These are the first responders who were on the frontlines of protecting people from COVID-19. You know, an elderly family member or anyone who’s impacted by it is getting struck down, and they’re allowing criminals out of jail now who have committed crimes against these first responders out of prison. So when these people obviously have no regard for the people who were there for us first, and they’re just there. It just drives me crazy to hear that anyone who has attacked a cop, or an emergency medical responder, an individual could be allowed out as a way to try to cut back on this virus because they’re not even respecting the people who are actually responding to the virus.
How do you feel about New Yorkers’ public safety after the prisoners’ Release?
They’re spreading our resources too thin; we should be focusing on how we can help New Yorkers. You see all these reports about how we’re ground zero for this virus. It’s impacting New Yorkers across the board especially in the city, there’s a high number of people that live right on top of each other.
We are lucky enough to have the National Guard here helping everybody get through this time. Police officers respect the whole keeping six feet away and making sure they are safe so that they can be able to effectively respond to people.
Personally, I worry about the safety of everybody.I don’t understand how we can have such a blatant disregard for our law enforcement and our first responders. They are working so hard to make sure that our streets are safe. Now New York is releasing people who are committing hate crimes, reckless endangerment, stalking offenses, etc. How do you keep stalking victims safe when you’re releasing their stalker from prison?
What are the contributing factors to all the people leaving New York?
I would say that it’s high taxes and fees and promoting lawlessness. You can even see that in the new budget that they passed. They just cut 50% of veteran funding but provided $6.4 million for the Office of New Americans, which is pretty much a nice way of saying that they are providing support to illegal immigrants with taxpayer dollars and funding a college education for individuals who are here illegally without doing anything for the actual residents.
In my opinion, New York is a totally lawless state where criminals are running the government and the streets. I see a much bigger issue at hand here. Like when you’re saying it’s okay for you to break the law and it’s not okay. To support taxpaying people, taxpaying residents, people who worked to come here, people who did the right thing, you are promoting lawlessness, you are promoting breaking the law by cutting veteran funding. I mean, COVID-19 is obviously a crisis in and of itself.
Every single day, we have 22 plus veterans die by suicide and New York is cutting veteran funding. When you’re watching how they remove these services, and they’re not doing the right by the people who have protected our safety. We live in New York where 911 happened here, we should be very concerned about who is coming in through our ports of entry, and how people are vetted.
Whereas we are talking about people coming in from all over who want to see America fail, they want to attack people in New York, we have a high density of people, we have huge markets here. And by not protecting the safety by allowing criminal justice. Sorry, for not protecting the safety of people here. And by allowing criminals run of the street, you’re pretty much saying like, “come do it.” I mean, I understand that we’re coming up on 20 years ago, but you should see safety improving, you should see the government taking the safety of New Yorkers and the whole country more serious.
How high is the New York tax rate? How much money is the state taking from its citizens?
According to the Cato Institute, we are ranked number 15 in terms of personal freedoms, and the way that they tax us. I understand that this is for education, but there is a tax rate here where they have put into place that they can raise taxes more than 2% every year. Most of the time when spending goes up, it’s going towards education. The problem that I have with that is, we become complacent in allowing our taxes to rise 2% every year. There should be ways to cut back on spending in other areas that are not necessary.
The budgets are absolutely insane and when it comes to fees they are never-ending. Let’s take New York State Park for example. You have to pay a fee of like 8-dollars to come and go. If you go often you can get an Empire pass which is about 80-dollars a year. If you want to go to that same park at night and look at the stars then it is an additional 35-dollars. Now you are paying an additional fee to go to the park at night when you already bought the Empire pass.
In the meantime, during COVID we are hearing a lot about germs getting passed around. In the county, I live people are taxed for using plastic bags. Now with COVID happening, you’re hearing that if you are using a recyclable bag that those bags can carry home the germs that transmit illnesses to your family. People are getting taxed for something that might actually be a safer alternative. They are taxing people for smoking, alcohol, and much more. I just don’t think that it’s right. I don’t think that it’s fair. They’re taking money from us. They’re cutting veteran funding, it just these things drive me nuts.
What is New York doing to protect people’s rights in the wake of the virus?
What I have noticed for any response to COVID-19, is that our leaders dropped the ball on how many ventilators would be needed in this State. In the wake of 911, you think that that would be a priority. The National Guard had come in to tell our leaders where our masks and ventilators were. The National Guard located them in a warehouse in Edison, New Jersey. We live in New York, why is it that these things are being held in another state? I cannot even begin to understand that.
When you look at footage from the end of January, you have elected officials encouraging people to go to parades, participate in the lunar new year, saying that there is no real threat, that there is no way for this to transmit from person to person. Obviously, this has been all wrong.
No one took anything the Trump administration was saying, seriously. I do not understand how you can say that you’re protecting the people when you are going out of your to purposefully say the opposite of what the federal government is telling you. In reality, if they had listened, to begin with, New York would not be facing this kind of crisis.
In Huntington, I know that they have taken proactive steps by closing town halls, closing parks, they’re making sure to do pretty much like every two to three days, we get a phone call to let us know what the current status is of things going on within the town. They’re promoting staying six feet away, don’t leave your house unless you really need to, if you see any large congregated groups of people make sure you call the safety line and report them.
I think that our leadership on the state level definitely should have taken it more seriously and done more to promote exactly how threatening this was. When you look at the timeline of things, our government was more concerned on a national level with carrying out an impeachment while the administration was closing down travel to China. In New York, using the talking points of the impeachment, in my opinion, to be promoting reasons why we should stay open when actually that was more detrimental to people than it was helpful.