Silverstein touts economic development record in run for County Commission

David Silverstein speaks at the Alabama Holocaust Education Center dedication at Temple Emanu-El on May 22. Photo by James Henry Brook.

For decades, David Silverstein has worked on projects to grow the economy in Jefferson County. Now, he is looking to do so as an elected official.

Silverstein, the current president of the Alabama Holocaust Education Center, is running in a special election on July 18 to fill the District 5 seat on the Jefferson County Commission. The seat was vacated recently as Steve Ammons became the CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance. Silverstein is running against Mike Bolin, who recently retired as a justice on the Alabama Supreme Court. Jeff Wise dropped out of the race on July 13.

District 5 is centered on Leeds, Irondale, Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia and Hoover.

Silverstein, who has not run for office before, said he is a businessman who wants to use his experience in business development to benefit the community. He pointed out that this seat chairs the economic development committee, and his experience in that realm separates him from his opponent.

Among the projects he developed were The Summit, the Cahaba Village project that brought Whole Foods to the area, and the Pizitz Building redevelopment in downtown Birmingham. He wants to address the vacant Brookwood Mall, and identify other vacant properties that can become usable projects for the community.

After his daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, he led efforts to found the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Comprehensive Diabetes Center. He has been president of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Alabama Chapters of the American Heart Association, and currently sits on the boards of First Horizon Bank Birmingham and Ascension St. Vincents.

He envisions a life sciences center, with the resources of UAB and Southern Research, to attract top research companies to the area.

With 10 of his 13 grandchildren living in the district, he wants to see Jefferson County be an option for them to raise their families, not a place they would want to leave for another city.