PALM SPRINGS — Joy Silver, 64, a Democrat, is making a second attempt to win the District 28 state Senate seat vacated last year by Jeff Stone.

Silver, who lives in Palm Springs, unsuccessfully challenged Stone, the Republican incumbent, in November 2018. She lists her occupation as businesswoman/housing advisor. Her partner is Atma Wiseman, who is a fitness trainer and interior designer.

Silver is one of five people seeking the seat in the special election on March 3.

As with all candidates willing to participate, Uken Report posed a series of questions to Silver. They follow along with her responses.

Uken Report (UR): Why do you want to be a state Senator?

Silver: I am running to bring practical solutions to the challenges Riverside County communities face. While some at the top may be doing fine, too many families in this District are struggling to make ends meet. I am ready to go to Sacramento to fight for our fair share of state resources for our District.

It’s time for a change. The sudden resignation of our former representative presents a great opportunity. Public spending needs to be focused on the things ordinary people rely on: education, career training, public safety, infrastructure and healthcare. We need to work to refocus the state budget on those priorities and cut subsidies that only benefit corporations and the rich at the expense of the broader public.

As a State Senator, I will work to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, oppose harmful cuts to healthcare for seniors, tackle the homeless crisis and provide housing for homeless veterans, crack down on corruption, ban lobbyist gifts, and stand up to Washington’s divisive policies when they hurt our people. I’ll advance practical solutions, not extreme ideologies, to make a real difference for the people of State Senate District 28.

UR: You ran in 2018 and lost. What is different this time around?

Silver: This is going to be an extremely short and intense campaign to the Primary – considerably shorter than a typical campaign, of course, where candidates have more time to meet with voters to listen and understand their diverse needs across this enormous district.

Because I did that less than a year ago, inspiring record-level voter turnout and coming in a close second to winning – closer than any other Democrat has, at just 3.1% behind an incumbent – I’m the candidate best positioned to succeed in 2020. Even though I was a first-time candidate, more than 140,000 voters supported my 2018 campaign.

I haven’t stopped working since then and I’m fighting to finish what we started by winning in March. Many of my 2018 campaign team members are still with me and we have 250+ volunteers already engaged throughout the entire District. I have the grassroots support to win, along with the endorsements of the California Democratic Party, the Riverside Democratic Party, and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis.

UR: What qualifications do you have?

Silver: I’m not a career politician. I’m an outsider who puts my business experience to work on local priorities: protecting healthcare, helping seniors, tackling the homelessness crisis, fixing the Salton Sea.

I’m a cop’s kid from a working-class family, educated in public schools and a state university. I understand what it means to struggle just to make ends meet. I began my career in healthcare as a community outreach worker for a medical and mental health clinic serving 40,000 patients annually, working my way up to become an executive there. Later, I built a senior living community from the ground up, became certified in senior care in California, and ran my own consulting firm specializing in aging issues to help seniors retire in dignity. Today, I serve as Regional Director of Southern California for an affordable housing developer that has delivered needed services to thousands of low-income individuals and families since 1984, bringing much needed affordable housing to the Coachella Valley.

I’ve spent my life working to build a better life for seniors, women and families. I know what it takes to get things done, because I’ve done it in the real world, in good times and bad.

UR: What issues are you running on and why?


  • Healthcare: We need to reduce prescription drug prices, defend choice and ensure all Californians – especially families and veterans – have access to affordable, quality healthcare.
  • Affordable housing: There is a housing crisis in California and in this District. We need to build high-quality, lower-cost housing so families and young professionals especially can afford safe homes near where they work.
  • Renewable energy economy: We need to develop alternative energy sources and we need to create good-paying, sustainable jobs, so our young people have compelling career opportunities here at home. A focus on the renewable energy economy achieves both goals. And it’s time to solve the crisis at the Salton Sea. Our people deserve better!

UR: Who are your political mentors and why?

Silver: Former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and State Senator Connie Leyva are two great California leaders who inspire me. Senator Boxer is a strong woman who ran for office – and won! – when most people thought women didn’t belong in politics. She was a champion for the environment and fought to preserve and protect land and water long before environmentalism was considered a mainstream issue. Senator Leyva, whom I call a friend, fights for the rights of working families in our neighboring district, and also champions legislation that protects the rights of women and children.

UR: Is there anything you would like to add?

Silver: The change in our nation’s trajectory – the winnowing of workers’ rights, the dismantling of the ACA, the homelessness crisis, the denigration and defunding of public education- have inspired me to act. I am seeking public office because I have experience, skills and the laser focus to make a difference in this time of national turbulence by serving the people of our District. As the endorsed candidate of the California State Democratic Party, I am honored to have the opportunity to earn your vote. When elected, my job is to listen, serve and represent all people of District 28 – Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.

My partner and I chose to make California, and specifically this District, our home because we love it. From the mountains to the desert to the wine country of Temecula, the experience of earth’s great beauty is especially exhilarating here, ever reminding me that it is my duty to serve and protect the environment and our diverse community, and to better the economy with renewable energy jobs. It would be my greatest honor to represent this District and fight to bring vital resources back here to serve our community’

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  • Joy Silver: Joy Silver