Brooklyn Heights

Jo Anne Simon announces bid for re-election to Assembly

Lander attacks anti-Velázquez emails as ‘funded by dark money’

May 31, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon announced on Tuesday that she will seek re-election to represent the 52nd Assembly District (Brooklyn Heights- DUMBO-Carroll Gardens) for another two years. Shown from left: Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and former Assemblymember Joan Millman.  Photo by Mary Frost

A host of city and state elected officials stood on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall with Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon on Tuesday as she announced that she will seek re-election to represent the 52nd Assembly District for another two years.

Pols including U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez, state Sen. Daniel Squadron, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Councilmembers Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, Assemblymember Walter Mosley and former Assemblymember Joan Millman praised Simon for tackling tough issues like gun control, public education, civil and disability rights, ethics in government, minimum wage, and paid family leave. Simon is known as a progressive and a reformer.

 Velázquez said that Simon gives her constituents a voice and a process.

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“We don’t foresee any competition,”  Velázquez said. “But we’re here to send a message – don’t even try!”

Simon, who seeks to limit the sale of ammo and tighten gun control laws, has been depicted in NRA tweets next to images of bullets. (Bill co-sponsor state Sen. Roxanne Persaud was also depicted in this way.)

Simon’s supporters called the picture “a veiled threat.”

“She was in the bullseye of the gun lobby, and she stared them down,” Stringer said.

Lander, who did not endorse Simon when she ran for the first time two years ago, admitted he had “made a mistake.”


“She won me over,” he said, lauding her work on gun control and other issues dear to his heart, including the eviction of seniors at the Prospect Park Residence assisted living home and the closure of Long Island College Hospital (LICH).

Lander’s fellow Councilmember Levin noted that with the recent “crisis of confidence” in Albany, the Assembly needs “strong leaders with integrity who won’t back down … with strong vision, who stand by their convictions.”

Squadron said that Simon was extraordinarily accomplished for a freshman, with two bills passed in the Assembly.

“She takes on big issues, and she’s a leader in reform,” he said.

Mosley added that Simon brought “talent to the people’s house.”

Simon’s endorsers also took the opportunity to back  Velázquez’s reelection bid.  Velázquez, with 12 terms in Congress (Bushwick – Brooklyn Heights – Sunset Park- parts of Manhattan and Queens), is being opposed by Chinatown banker Yungman Lee.

Lee has called  Velázquez “tired” and out of touch with her constituents. A PAC linked to Lee has sent out mailers attacking  Velázquez as “arrogant,” and “unaccountable,” and attempts to associate her with disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. (The PAC, Community Action Now, denies being officially connected to Lee.)

Lander didn’t mince his words in defense of  Velázquez. He said messages he has received in his email from Lee supporters were “fueled by scumbags … small-minded, nasty, and funded by dark money.” He urged 7th Congressional District voters to “go out and re-elect  Velázquez” on June 28.

The general primary election takes place on September 13.


District Leader Charles Ragusa (Democrat, 47 AD) is now strongly demanding an apology from Councilman Brad Lander following comments that “messages from (Yungman) Lee supporters were ‘fueled by scumbags…small-minded, nasty, and funded by dark money’.”

“Everyone has the right to support who they want,” said Ragusa, who told the Brooklyn Eagle in a statement that he was disgusted by what he termed misleading remarks from Lander. “I am demanding Lander give an apology to the Asian community instead of linking them all as bad people with hateful remarks.”

Ragusa said he believes that among the many roles of elected officials is to set a good example for the community. He said, “We can’t go around calling people names and placing labels. Congresswomen Nydia Velázquez simply stood silently next to Lander and did not speak up to correct this. ”

Charles Ragusa and his neighborhood team of Assemblyman William Colton and his partner District Leader Nancy Tong have all previously endorsed Yungman Lee. 


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