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By Arkadiy Fridman and Ilya Galak, Citizens Magazine
Photo: By Ilya Galak
C.M: I’ll start with a question about your background…Please tell us a little bit about your life story.
J.M: My name is Janine Materna and I’m a 3rd generation Staten Islander with deep roots in the Staten Island community.
I am the proud product of public school education by attending: P.S.3, I.S.34, and Tottenville High School.
After high school, I attended, and graduated from, Columbia University holding a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science and Environmental Science. Currently, I’m a Management Consultant, working for the past 10 years in the financial services industry consulting Fortune 500 companies both domestically and globally on ways to become more productive and efficient in the workplace. While practicing my profession, I continued my education by earning a certificate from the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. I also attended St. John’s University to attain a Master’s in Education with a dual certification in Childhood Education and Teaching Students with Disabilities. Currently, I am entering my third year of law school at New York Law School, where I am involved in the evening program.
I’m involved in a variety of organizations and proudly serve as the President of the largest Civic Association on the South Shore of Staten Island, the Pleasant Plains, Prince’s Bay, Richmond Valley Civic Association where I’ve had many speakers educate the community on the issues we face. The Civic Association has also implemented traditions for generations to come. Some of these traditions include: Meet the Candidates Forum, We Care Community Clean-Ups, The Annual Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony, and the Great American Barbecue, demonstrating patriotic pride. I have also worked tirelessly on educating the community on drug addiction, mental illness, domestic violence, transportation issues, organ donation, autism, etc.
Along with leading the Civic, I’ve been active with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York Junior Board, Women’s National Republican Club, Co-Chair the Alumni Representative Committee for Columbia University, New York Junior League, Staten Island Women’s Political Caucus and the Women’s Auxiliary of the Staten Island Historical Society at Historic Richmond Town.
Being a strong believer in giving back, I serve on a variety of fundraising committees for the Jewish Community Center (JCC), American Cancer Society, March of Dimes and serve as a member of Governor Cuomo’s NY Rising Committee as well as volunteer at God’s Love We Deliver and the Bowery Mission, where I orchestrate groups to help feed homeless and hungry New Yorkers.
Coming from a family of veterans, I have demonstrated a strong commitment in making sure that our members of the armed forces are respected and continuously recognized for their sacrifices.
I have fought for many years to provide better quality roads for the people of Staten Island by starting the Facebook group: Staten Islanders for Pothole Free Roads. I have been a very big advocate of introducing a sustainable product known as asphalt rubber to New York City.
Recently, I have been featured as a Republican Strategist on a number of different news networks, including but not limited to: NY1, NBC, NBC Latino and on the Kelly File, hosted by Megan Kelly.
Some honors and awards I have received include: Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in Recognition of Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community, New York City Public High School Distinguished Graduate from Mayor Giuliani at Gracie Mansion, New York State Assembly Certificate of Merit & New York City Council Citation.
I have decided to run for New York State Assembly representing my hometown the 62nd Assembly district to give voters of the district a choice on who they want representing them. I will be facing a Republican primary on Tuesday, September 13th.
C.M: The influences of your family background on your life?
J.M: My Italian, Russian, and Polish roots have instilled in me a work ethic that is unmatched. Growing up I learned the value of a dollar and never took anything for granted. I learned that our freedom is something that does not have a dollar value and to be grateful for living in this great country of endless opportunities.
C.M: What are the three accomplishments are you most proud of?
I have lived in this very District my entire life and been involved in the issues we face for over a decade. My opponent recently moving into the district, he has become close with party bosses through personal relationships with some of the other party insiders, who then selected him for this Assembly seat back in April. When running, he remained on the ballot utterly unopposed, which is unfair and contrary to this nation’s democratic process. This, among many, is one of the reasons why I am challenging both him, and the current local political system on Staten Island.
C.M: What specific plans do you have to help Staten Island’s economy? Small businesses? Construction businesses?
J.M: I plan on hosting town halls and forums to understand what issues are most important to small businesses in our community. I pledge to fight to make Staten Island and New York State, in general, a place that is more business friendly by lowering taxes and cutting the red tape.
C.M: From Staten Island Advance (Rachel Shapiro): “Those who spent part of their lives in the former Soviet Union remember what it was like to live under a repressive socialist regime, and on Staten Island, some of them are hoping Donald Trump becomes the next American president”. In your opinion, why most of Russian – Speaking immigrants on Staten Island support Trump?
J.M: The Russian Speaking population on the island understands and fears the consequences of life under a socialist regime; equal wages regardless of occupation or profession, decimation of ambition in the workplace, lack of foreign resources, rationing, and corruption in every facet of life and the absence of personal freedoms. Their arrival in America marked a drastic change in their lives, it was liberating - to say the least - to live in a country where hard work was rewarded and corruption was curtailed. However, with the last few years, the America that Russian immigrants longed for was no longer the same America that they immigrated to. With years of fiscally liberal spending and egregious foreign policy decisions, Russians have begun to see what many other Americans fail to; a turn towards socialism, which frankly should be everyone’s biggest fear. Russians value this great nation and all the opportunities it gave them, all of which they would be bereft of in the Soviet Union. Trump supports all of the views that America once stood for, and all the values that Russians came to America for, which is exactly why Russians want to make America great again.
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