Don’t call David Silverstein a politician.
Yes, the former lawyer and career developer is running for the unexpired Jefferson County Commission District 5 seat of Steve Ammons in Tuesday’s special election. But don’t call him a politician.
“I don’t consider myself a politician,” the Mountain Brook resident said. “I consider myself a businessman that’s had his success, been part of this community since my birth, that wants to serve. I don’t see myself as a politician.”
Silverstein acknowledges that he must be political as he runs a campaign to represent a district that includes parts of parts of Hoover, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Birmingham and Leeds.
“I’m not a politician. I’m not a politician,” he repeated. “Do I have aspirations? Absolutely not. All I want to do is work hard for the next two and a half, three years to fill out Steve’s term.”
Might Silverstein run for another office or for reelection to the District 5 seat in the future? He says he has no clue.
“But I’m not a politician,” he said again. “I’m a businessman that would like to translate what he has learned over the last 30 years to the benefit of this community.”
Before the current campaign, Silverstein had not run for office, except for fifth-grade class president at Mountain Brook Elementary. “I probably handed out Jolly Ranchers,” he said of that campaign.
But the developer has been active in politics, contributing to the campaigns of Democrats and Republicans seeking office. Tuesday’s election is nonpartisan.
“I have always voted and supported those individuals that I think primarily are of the highest integrity and secondly those candidates that are competent to perform the job he or she is seeking,” Silverstein said. “The criteria are pretty simple. Integrity, integrity and competency. I have supported Republicans; I have supported Democrats. I have supported Democrats when I didn’t think that Republican fit the criteria and have supported Republicans when I didn’t think the Democrat (did). And I supported a job well done.”
But after having often supported the campaigns of others running for office, the 67-year-old Mountain Brook resident is himself the one on the ballot. Why?
“I firmly believe I’m the most qualified for this job,” Silverstein said. “I think that the seat that Steve Ammons vacated – and I’m wish him all the best at the Birmingham Business Alliance – this seat chairs the Economic Development Committee for the commission. The 30 years that I’ve been engaged in economic development I truly believe separates me from the other two candidates.
“I don’t think there’s any comparison … between the experience that I bring to the table to work for this community and this region, to retain business, recruit new business, work with developers (and) understand the issues that one faces when you have a challenge on economic development.”
Silverstein married his high school sweetheart, the former Susan Tilson, a rector’s daughter with whom he raised five children. The couple has 13 grandchildren with 10 of them living in the district he wants to represent.
“I really do want to see if I can be part of the process of ensuring that this city, community, region continues to be a great place to live and work and raise your family,” he said.