If elected, Simon, who has represented the 52nd Assembly District since 2014, would be the first woman to serve in the position. Prior to elected office, she was a longtime community activist, civil rights lawyer and former teacher of the deaf.
“I am looking forward to bringing the skills and experience of my grassroots community activism and legislative experience to the Brooklyn borough presidency,” she said.
Simon noted that women’s issues include economic, health, education, social, environmental justice and LGBTQ issues.
“It’s time for a change, it’s time for a woman borough president in Brooklyn,” she added. “In honor of Justice Ginsburg, Shirley Chisholm and all of the women who have gone before carving a path where once there was none, I am pulling my folding chair up to the table and running for Brooklyn borough president.”
During her tenure in the Assembly, Simon has passed legislation on campaign finance reform, gun violence prevention, gender equity and education. She also supported equal pay for equal work, paid family leave, sexual harassment protections and codifying Roe v. Wade into state law.
She currently chairs the Assembly Committee on Ethics and Guidance, and co-chairs the Legislative Ethics Commission.
On the local level, Simon advocated against the closure of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) and fought against developers on the Atlantic Yards project and the Downtown Brooklyn Development Plan.
She has also worked with community groups to start the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, and helped win design-build authorization on the BQE rehabilitation project in Brooklyn Heights.
Before she was elected to the Assembly, Simon served as the female Democratic District Leader for the 52nd Assembly District from 2004 to 2014. She succeeded former Assemblywoman Joan Millman, who was among the community members and activists with Simon for her borough presidency announcement.
Millman said she met Simon through community work, and believes that she is an effective leader “who can build consensus on complicated issues.” She also called the assemblywoman a “deeply committed and thoughtful advocate and legislator.”
“She has accomplished so much in the state legislature in such a short time,” Millman said. “We need her vision here in Brooklyn to unite us and lead us during this difficult time.”
Simon joins a field of candidates that includes Councilman Antonio Reynoso and Councilman Robert Cornegy. First Lady Chirlane McCray and Councilman Mathieu Eugene have also been rumored to be interested in the seat.
According to the Campaign Finance Board, Cornegy has raised more than $192,000, with some $32,000 on hand. Reynoso raised more than $104,000, with $81,000 left.
Jo_Anne_Simon_2: Councilman Antonio Reynoso, center, is among the several candidates also vying for the Brooklyn borough presidency.