Matt Slater was just getting back from Albany (luckily) in time for our interview.
Apparently the state budget is due next week. “There’s always something”, he says with a sleepy grin.
Slater is Senator Terrence Murphy’s Chief of Staff and has been working with Murphy for the past ten years. In fact, Slater was just 22 when he and Terrence Murphy met, which definitely puts him at the younger end of the spectrum in his role today for the Senator as his Chief of Staff.
Although being the young gun in his field definitely comes with its’ own set of challenges, Slater has learned how to, “Not take no for an answer…not be afraid to fail. You’ve got to keep putting in the effort…you can’t replace a good work ethic, which I get from my mom. She is the hardest worker I’ve ever met in my life… she pours her heart and soul and every fiber of her being into
her work whether it’s her job, or church, or community projects.”
Unsurprisingly, Slater credits his mom for his inspiration to get into politics, whom took him on a childhood trip to Washington. Also like his mom, Slater enjoys, “just helping people”, as he puts it. A most recent example of help given in Matt’s day to day work would be during the Nor’ Easter power outages our region encountered this past season., “It was a really bad situation for people all across the region”, says Slater, who then goes on to describe an instance of a 39 year old quadriplegic man whose elderly parents could not utilize his feeding tube for him. As soon as the Red Cross informed their office about it, Slater and Senator Murphy had a generator going at the home in a mere hours. When asked to touch on another prevalent subject, Matt Slater talks about the opioid epidemic. “It’s horrific what’s going on out there”, he says.
Through the Senator’s work with the local task force, Slater explains, they’ve passed a bill with a seven-day limit on the amount of pain medication that can be prescribed at one time. Senators Gillibrand and McCain picked up the bill to make it national as well. This subject ties in nicely in our conversation to his wife Kellie’s work. Kellie Slater is the Director of Community Outreach at AFC Urgent Care in Yorktown Heights.
Clearly a woman that “stands by her man” in support of everything her husband does, she also has experience with the opioid crisis on a community level in her work. She explains that drug seekers who may come into the Urgent Care office can be looked up on a state regulated “istop” computer program that checks to see exactly where and when they’ve been prescribed painkillers at other locations, enabling health care officials to know if they are abusing drugs as opposed to being in a legitimate occasion of need for pain meds. Kellie Slater actually grew up in politics.
Her mom, was George Pataki’s Executive Director, and resides today in West Point with her stepfather who was a state assemblyman for years and also worked for Pataki as his director of public relations.
Kellie’s birth father was a (youngest to date) Judge in Monroe. However, with Kellie’s boisterous and giving personality, she became frustrated over the years at witnessing change occur only in small increments. Doing community outreach work at hospitals has given Kellie the impetus she’s needed to help people in a more immediate way. She started at Hudson Valley Hospital and then on to White Plains hospital where she and Matt met, whereas he frequented the health fairs she put on there often. “Oh he must be very philanthropic, or so I thought…”explains Kellie with a gregarious laugh. As it turns out, philanthropy aside, Matt was there all the time to see Kellie, of course! Today Kellie and Matt are happily married and sharing a life together with their two-year old son Charlie whom, “works a room better than both of us combined!”, exclaims Kellie.
Being that they are both busy working parents, they talk about how they are fortunate to be able to make many of their work events family events. “If we have an event in Cortlandt, Peekskill,
or Yorktown we bring Charlie… and our date nights are cocktail parties for the chamber!” It’s easy to see that Kellie and Matt have found the right recipe for making their family and work lives blend together seamlessly, with Charlie’s grandparents on both sides enjoying being involved in his upbringing.
“My boss always says that family is the nucleus of your life”, explains Matt. This article would not be complete without the mentioning of the Drs. Rajesh and Seema Gupta, the owners and practicioners of AFC Urgent Care where Kellie works.
It’s evident after listening to Kellie and Matt (the Guptas’ lived on the same street Matt grew up on!) gush over the Guptas’ that they are a couple that truly enjoy the people they know in their community, whom many of become their patients as well. In addition to his Urgent Care practice, Dr.Rajesh Gupta makes “housecalls” to Fieldhome Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Yorktown, and the VA Hospital in Montrose.
It’s no surprise given these characteristics that DR.Rajesh and Seema Gupta possess that Matt and Kellie Slater feel right at home in Kellie’s workplace; with an ability to blend seamlessly their “nucleus” of work, family, and community life.
As Kellie Slater says, “Make time for your community because in the big picture that’s where you’re going to see change.”