By Phil Corso
Challenging what he called an inadequate status quo plaguing northeast Queens, one Democratic state committeeman has upped his campaign efforts and collected endorsements in a race for City Council.
Over recent weeks, Matthew Silverstein, 30, of Bay Terrace, has played host to several meet-and-greets throughout the 19th Council District, currently represented by Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), with hopes of winning support in his first run for public office.
Halloran was elected to the Council in 2009.
After his most recent event Dec. 16 in Bay Terrace, the Democratic state committeeman for the 26th Assembly District said he would be zoning in on veterans’ services, getting the city to work and advocating for the borough’s co-op and condo owners.
“We need effective leadership,” Silverstein said. “We currently have a Council member who is ineffective, out of touch with the mainstream and is unable to bring in the resources that this district needs.”
Coming from a military family of his own, Silverstein said one of the more personal issues in his campaign revolved around improving the city’s treatment of veterans. Intertwined with that issue, Silverstein said he hoped to use his professional experience working with Manhattan employment company America Works of New York to address joblessness.
“Unemployment among young veterans is very high here,” Silverstein said. “My experience and expertise is in employment policy, creating jobs and bringing industry back to the city.”
The Bay Terrace native said he viewed himself as more of a moderate candidate who was well-equipped to represent the conservative 19th District, which covers Little Neck, Bayside, Whitestone, Auburndale and College Point.
Joining Silverstein in a Democratic primary race for Halloran’s seat will be Paul Vallone, son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., and former Assemblyman John Duane, who has registered a campaign committee for the seat.
Earlier this month, Silverstein touted an endorsement his campaign received from author and historian Fred Siegel. In a statement, Siegel said the Council candidate’s experience working with America Works of New York makes him well-fit for office.
“Matthew’s experience at putting New Yorkers back to work will serve him well,” Siegel said. “If New York City is going to thrive once again, we need to elect moderate elected officials who have new ideas and can work together to make the city great once more.”
Silverstein said one of the largest concerns in the district revolved around tax equity for co-op and condo owners, who make up an important segment of northeast Queens. Borough leaders have been advocating for such homeowners throughout the year to avoid drastic tax hikes for co-op and condos and Silverstein said a strong voice was needed in the Council.
“It is time we elected someone who has a moderate voice for the region,” Silverstein said. “We need a fresh face with new ideas — someone who is going to play nice in the sandbox.”
Silverstein has also served as a second vice president for the Bay Terrace Community Alliance and ison the board of directors for groups including the Center for the Women of New York and the Jefferson Democratic Club of northeast Queens.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.