Diane J. Savino
New York State Senator
The New York State Senate
New York State Senator Diane J. Savino (Democrat, Independent, Staten Island-Brooklyn) was born and raised in Astoria, Queens and was educated at Most Precious Blood Elementary School and Dominican Commercial High School. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from St. John’s University and has a degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.
Diane Savino has dedicated her entire professional career towards improving the lives of working families. She began her career in public service as a caseworker for New York City’s Child Welfare Administration, providing direct assistance to abused and neglected children.
An active member of her local labor union, the Social Service Employees Union, Local 371, DC 37 of AFSCME, she quickly rose through the ranks to become the Vice President for Political Action & Legislative Affairs, where she became one of the most respected labor leaders in New York State.
As a labor official, she successfully campaigned for an increase in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15 an hour—the first raise for New Yorkers in over a decade. As a Senator and Chair of the Labor Committee, she continued her commitment to workers by supporting and advocating for a further increase to $9.00 an hour as part of the enacted in the 2013-14 State Budget.
In 2004, she was elected to represent the 23rd Senatorial District, which encompasses the North and East Shores of Staten Island and portions of Southern Brooklyn, including Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Dyker Heights, Gravesend and Sunset Park.
In their endorsement of Senator Savino, the New York Times described her as “scrappy and effective”. Her dedication to her constituents earned her the Staten Island Advance’s “strongest endorsement for a third term”, saying, “no lawmaker works harder and no lawmaker commits herself to the fight for her constituents more than Ms. Savino". City and State Newspaper has rated her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in New York State (2013 and 2014) and one of the 100 Most Influential People in New York City (2014).
Senator Savino’s hard work and influence was evidenced as she championed the Compassionate Care Act
through the legislative process despite opposition and a campaign of misinformation. The ACT
will allow New Yorkers with serious medical conditions limited access to medical marijuana under the supervision of health care professionals and under strict state regulations.
Senator Savino has authored numerous laws protecting hard-working New Yorkers. Among the laws she has had enacted is the first in the nation Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights
, expanding basic worker protection rights to domestic workers; the Prompt Pay Bill
, which ensures prompt payment to construction contractors and their employees; Wage Theft Prevention Act
, assessing preventative and punitive measures on employers who steal income from their employees; and another national first, The New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act,
establishing new standards for determining whether a commercial truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor, helping to further protect workers' rights statewide.
Senator Savino previously served as Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Banks and has previously served as chair of the Labor Committee, the Civil Service and Pensions Committee and the Children and Families Committee. From those committees she authored the law that would limit public authorities from contracting out for services that can be performed by public employees; provided a cost-of-living increase in the death benefit for widows and widowers of police officers and fire fighters killed in the line of duty and expanded and made permanent the Family Differential Response (FAR) Program.
Local initiatives accomplished by Senator Savino include the establishment of a Quiet Zone on the Staten Island Ferry; Access-a-Ride, Railway, Ferry and Express Bus Service Surveys; a Mobile District Office; the annual “Back to School Blasts” to give away free school supplies to students; Veterans’ Benefit and Job Fair; Street Games; Soap Box Derbies; Read to Lead literacy programs; Women’s Health Events; a series of hearings on the foreclosure and subprime lending crisis; district-wide workshops for seniors on the Medicare prescription drug plan, and statewide hearings on Heroin and Opioid abuse and HPV, the virus and the vaccine.
Senator Savino sponsors a wide array of programs in the 23rd District, including the only kosher soup kitchen in New York City, Staten Island’s Downtown Drive-In Movies, a mobile mammography unit, as well as a wide variety of programs for at-risk youth and senior citizens.