Democrat Jo Anne Simon
for Congress

A disability civil rights lawyer, educator, community activist, and progressive NY State Assemblymember, Jo Anne Simon has dedicated her life to fighting for equal rights for all of us.  As Congresswoman, she will work to give Brooklyn and Manhattan communities a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.

A disability civil rights lawyer, educator, community activist, and progressive NY State Assemblymember, Jo Anne Simon has dedicated her life to fighting for equal rights for all of us.  As Congresswoman, she will work to give Brooklyn and Manhattan communities a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.

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Meet Jo Anne

As a disability civil rights lawyer, educator, community activist, and Assemblymember, Jo Anne is a forceful advocate for our community.

Jo Anne has been a progressive leader in the New York State legislature — where she passed historic legislation on gun violence prevention, education, gender equity, and campaign finance reform. She has championed free school meals for all children regardless of their families’ ability to pay. Jo Anne helped secure equal pay for equal work, election reforms and voting rights, paid family leave, New York’s Green New Deal, and sexual harassment protections.  She chairs the Assembly Committee on Ethics and Guidance.

Jo Anne grew up in a working-class neighborhood and was the first in her family to go to college. She earned a Master’s Degree in Education of the Deaf from Gallaudet University and she earned her law degree at Fordham University School of Law – which she attended at night while working full-time. Inspired by her previous work teaching deaf students, she started her own disability civil rights law firm in Downtown Brooklyn. She spent three decades protecting people with disabilities from discrimination and injustice in employment, higher education and high stakes standardized testing. She even had the honor of litigating a landmark disability rights case that eventually went to the Supreme Court. 

The community is front and center to Jo Anne’s activism. She is a fierce advocate and she has fought against the closure of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) hospital, demanded more and more deeply affordable housing in the Atlantic Yards development, advocated for and secured the city’s first traffic calming study, and worked with the community to clean up the toxic Gowanus Canal and its uplands, now a federal Superfund site. She was an early pioneer pushing to bury the polluting Gowanus Expressway into an environmentally-just and sustainable tunnel and passed first-in-the-nation technology to fine illegally overweight trucks on the BQE.

Jo Anne has made her home in Brooklyn for over 40 years. Jo Anne and her husband, Bill Harris, live in Boerum Hill. She has two step-sons and two grandchildren.

Jo Anne on the Issues:

Women’s Rights

Jo Anne has been fighting her entire adult life for abortion and equal access to reproductive health care. She was an abortion counselor early in her career. As an Assemblymember, Jo Anne helped codify Roe v. Wade into state law in 2019 to ensure the right to an abortion is protected in New York, regardless of what happens on the federal level.

Jo Anne has improved access to contraceptives, health care, and she is working to ensure that New York is ready to provide services to people from other states if Roe is overturned. Our fight is mulitiracial and multi generational. She is going to fight like hell to protect access to abortion here in NY, and for women across the country. We are not going back.

Environment

Jo Anne champions environmentally just transportation and energy solutions, and she helped pass New York’s historic Green New Deal. With a 100% rating from leading environmental advocacy organizations, Jo Anne will fight polluters every day – our lives depend on it! We don’t have time for half-measures with the climate crisis before us. That’s why Jo Anne is fighting to transition our energy to publicly-owned, democratically-accountable renewable sources. Jo Anne has been critical in efforts to clean up the toxic Superfund site in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

Committed to public transit, alternative transportation, and smart, safe solutions for congestion, Jo Anne has been offering forward thinking, environmentally just solutions to Brooklyn’s vexing transportation issues for decades.

Gun Violence Prevention

Gun violence is a public health crisis that is shaking our nation to its core. It is shameful and beyond comprehension that we are the only country that so devalues human life, repeatedly allowing gun violence to happen.

Jo Anne authored New York’s groundbreaking “Red Flag Law” which is the strongest in the nation. It creates a new type of court-issued order to temporarily remove firearms when someone poses a serious risk of harm to themselves or others. She also created New York’s first firearm violence research institute. But we must end the iron pipeline that enables the flow of guns from other states into New York. We simply must have federal protections, and we must fight the incredibly powerful and well-financed gun lobby.

Educational Advocacy

As a lifelong educator and advocate for children, Jo Anne will fight to improve schools for all of our children and to bring down barriers for young learners. As a nationally recognized disability rights lawyer, Jo Anne’s advocacy has changed lives and laws across the country. She has led the way to ensure that students with dyslexia and related learning disabilities are identified early so they get the reading instruction they need to be proficient readers. She has worked tirelessly for students with all disabilities and will bring this expertise to Congress.

Community Voices

Jo Anne is a community activist, advocating to make New York the equitable, sustainable, thriving place she knows it can be for all of us. She entered public service by way of her community activism, fighting for affordable housing and community input in local land use projects. She keeps the voice of the community front and center in her work, from closing Rikers, to ensuring an environmentally sound BQE redesign, to pushing for the City’s first traffic calming study. She is a strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, people with disabilities, women, and people who have too often been marginalized. Jo Anne has dedicated her life to fighting for equal rights for all of us.

Jo Anne on the Issues:

Women’s Rights

Jo Anne has been fighting her entire adult life for abortion and equal access to reproductive health care. She was an abortion counselor early in her career. As Assemblywoman, Jo Anne helped codify Roe v. Wade into state law in 2019 to ensure the right to an abortion is protected in New York, regardless of what happens on the federal level.
Jo Anne has improved access to contraceptives, health care, and she is working to ensure that New York is ready to provide services to people from other states if Roe is overturned. Our fight is multi-racial and multi-generational. She is going to fight like hell to protect access to abortion here in NY, and for women across the country. We are not going back.

Environment

Jo Anne champions environmentally just transportation and energy solutions, and she helped pass New York’s historic Green New Deal. With a 100% rating from leading environmental advocacy organizations, Jo Anne will fight polluters every day – our lives depend on it! We don’t have time for half-measures with the climate crisis before us. That’s why Jo Anne is fighting to transition our energy to publicly-owned, democratically-accountable renewable sources. Jo Anne has been critical in efforts to clean up the toxic Superfund site in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Committed to public transit, alternative transportation, and smart, safe solutions for congestion, Jo Anne has been offering forward thinking, environmentally just solutions to Brooklyn’s vexing transportation issues for decades.

Gun Violence Prevention

Gun violence is a public health crisis that is shaking our nation to its core. It is shameful and beyond comprehension that we are the only country that so devalues human life, repeatedly allowing gun violence to happen.

Jo Anne authored New York’s groundbreaking “Red Flag Law” which is the strongest in the nation. It creates a new type of court-issued order to temporarily remove firearms when someone poses a serious risk of harm to themselves or others. She also created New York’s first firearm violence research institute. But we must end the iron pipeline that enables the flow of guns from other states into New York. We simply must have federal protections and, we must fight the incredibly powerful and well-financed gun lobby.

Educational Advocacy

As a lifelong educator and advocate for children, Jo Anne will fight to improve schools for all of our children and to bring down barriers for young learners. As a nationally recognized disability rights lawyer, Jo Anne’s advocacy has changed lives and laws across the country. She has led the way to ensure that students with dyslexia and related learning disabilities are identified early so they get the reading instruction they need to be proficient readers, and to improve the way schools of education prepare new teachers to teach reading. She has worked tirelessly for students with all disabilities and will bring this expertise to Congress.

Community Voices

Jo Anne is a community activist, advocating to make New York the equitable, sustainable, thriving place she knows it can be for all of us. She entered public service by way of her community activism, fighting for affordable housing and community input in local land use projects. She keeps the voice of the community front and center in her work, from closing Rikers, to ensuring an environmentally sound BQE redesign, to pushing for the City’s first traffic calming study. She is a strong ally of the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, people with disabilities, women, and people who have too often been marginalized. Jo Anne has dedicated her life to fighting for equal rights for all of us.

Paid for By Jo Anne Simon For Congress