John Silvestri For NYS Supreme Court Justice, 4th Judicial Distr

Who am I?

It took ten years of working days to finance my education and going to school to achieve the goal of graduating college and law school. I worked my way through college as a tractor trailer driver and iron worker. After college I worked for two years to save enough money to help finance the cost of law school.
I have been in private practice since 1982 and have litigated matters that cover a wide range of legal issues and I have appeared before Courts from Riverhead, Long Island to New York City to St. Lawrence, Hamilton, Warren, Essex, Saratoga, and Clinton Counties. In short, each of the geographically and diverse Courts I have appeared before for thirty- years have tutored me in how to present, negotiate, and resolve cases. Each of the Judges has also taught and reinforced that respect is the cornerstone to making our Judicial system achieve its goals.
I am a former Warren County Assistant District Attorney, Town Attorney for North Hudson, the Ticonderoga and Chestertown Fire Districts, and the Ticonderoga and Chestertown Volunteer Fire Companies.
When not practicing law my life has been dedicated to my family and community. Alison, my wife of 34 years, who passed away in 2012, and I raised three daughters and have four grandchildren. I was a Deacon and Sunday School teacher at our church for fifteen years. As much as I have learned to appreciate an attitude of respect and patience from the practice of law, I have likewise been tutored in these virtues as the father of three children and as a husband.

Why am I running?

My interest in the law was sparked by my grandmother. My grandmother immigrated from Italy when she was in her thirtys and never quite mastered English. She would occasionally speak about how she felt unfairly treated by the legal system because she did not speak the language or understand the law. Her husband, also an immigrant from Italy, was a fairly successful businessman. He and a partner owned real estate, restaurant, bar and ice businesses (it was a time before refrigeration). When my grandfather died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident, the partner, by grandmothers account, got everything and she, with six children, got very little. When my grandmother spoke of these things, she said her lawyer did not treat her with respect because she was a woman and because she had difficulties with the English language. As a little boy growing up, I had no idea what a lawyer was or what they did, but I remember thinking that someday I would be a lawyer, help people like my grandmother and would make sure they were treated fairly and with respect.
Service of our District in the capacity of a Supreme Court Justice would be an honor and a privilege. I believe that I can apply the lessons learned fromthree decadesof litigation to serve the attorneys and litigants who appear before the Court. My policy as an attorney has always been dispute resolution and trial avoidance whenever possible. I am very proud of the fact that most of my litigated matters resulted in negotiated settlements.

My Goals

As a Justice of the Supreme Court, I will use my 30 years of dispute negotiation skills to save taxpayers the cost of lengthy, expensive trials without sacrificing anyones right to be heard. I will advance the fair and impartial administration of justice in an environment of respect for Court personnel as well as attorneys, their clients and pro-se litigants.
I have been and will continue to actively seek to establish a special Veteran's Court for those who have served this country in our armed forces. Shocking numbers of our veterans, particularly women, are homeless, or prone to substance abuse or other problems which often results in encounters with the law. The purpose of the Veteran's Court would be to offer the veterans treatment, counseling, mentorship and jobs training as an alternative to incarceration.
I also deeply concerned with the problem of domestic violence in our society, problems that often bring individuals and families before the courts. The judiciary must work intelligently with the legislature, executive branch and social agencies to break the cycles of domestic violence while simultaneously protecting, educating and empowering its victims.
I would note that as a judicial candidate I am quite restricted by New York Election Law and ethical codes to comment on my race or the issues in such a way that my comments might be construed as to represent a pre-commitment to decide cases in particular way. Each case must be decided on its own merits under the law, a principle of equal justice that I believe deeply in.

My DFA Values

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My Campaign is People Powered!

This is my second attempt at this seat: I also ran last year but fell a bit short, a showing that encouraged me to run again this year. I was very pleased to work with Glens Falls DFA and all eleven county committees in the 4th Judicial District. All share a common grassroots perspective. Last year the judicial candidates in New York led the ballot, and accordingly my team helped organize GOTV, particularly phone banking, over the vast 4th Judicial District, which contains over a million people. The 4th is the largest in New York State and is larger than the state of Connecticut. This year we again expect to work closely with our local DFA people and the committees to educate our voters to keep on voting on the judicial lines and get out the vote.
This year is very unusual: we have four vacancies on the fifteen member bench, and an unprecedented four Democratic candidates, matching the Republicans for the first time. I am closely coordinating with all of our candidates: Christine Clark, Jeff Wait and Mark Blanchfield.
Because of the great size of the district, leveraging both social media and social networks is critical -- even with four candidates, a face to face campaign is simply impossible. The great variety of groups my campaign has engaged include African American churches like the historic Duryee Memorial African Church in Schenectady, labor unions, veterans groups and womens groups like the Schenectady County Working Group on girls.
For more on our grassroots program please check out the regular updates on my Facebook page

Note from campaign manager: Judicial candidates in the State of New York are selected by district conventions in September. All four Democratic candidates are scheduled to be formally placed on the ballot at that time. These delegates have already been selected by our County Chairs and nominated by petitions, and are committed to our slate of candidates.

Voice support

About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

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