The diamond and jewelry industries need to talk more about the role they play in the local economy, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told JCK following a speech to a meeting of the 47th Street Business Improvement District on Oct. 6.
Schumer said there needs to be a “little more publicity about how important the diamond industry is.” He also said he wanted to work on events with the industry that would educate local officials about the role it plays.
He added that many don’t realize that diamonds are New York state’s number one export. “Also, people don’t know the diversity of the industry, which would strike a chord in New York,” he added.
He said he would be happy to be a liaison to local public officials. When asked about the trade’s current problems with banks, he said that industry officials can contact him and they can work on a solution.
In his speech, Schumer said that the industry means a lot to him, and that the late William Goldberg was one of his mentors. Later, he helped get a stretch of East 48th Street named William Goldberg Way.
Noting that 70 percent of cutters are immigrants, he said the diamond industry epitomizes what is best about America.
“That is what we provide in this country: ladders up,” he said. “No one puts a silver spoon in your mouth, but if you can work hard, you can get ahead.”