NYS Assembly candidate Tony Simone, running in Manhattan’s District 75, welcomed an endorsement from retiring incumbent Assembly Member Richard Gottfried on February 15, boosting his campaign, which has also received support from former State Senator Tom Duane and former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
“Tony Simone is a true progressive who has worked long for our community and I am proud to endorse him to be our next Assembly Member,” Gottfried said in a statement. “I know that Tony is running for office because he loves this community and wants to serve it. As someone who loves this community, too, I believe there’s no better person to represent us.”
Simone, who launched his campaign for the seat at the end of December, is running to improve health care infrastructure and to make living in the district more affordable, among other goals. But he’s not alone; Simone’s joined by five other candidates vying for the position. The endorsement from Gottfried, who announced in mid-December his intent not to run for reelection after over five decades serving District 75, represents the pair’s shared vision for the future of the district, which spans from Union Square through Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen to the southern region of Central Park.
Gottfried wrote the 1998 Hudson River Park law, establishing the park where Simone later worked; the two also crossed paths when Simone worked in government. “He knows my character, he knows I’ll work the hardest for the district — our constituents — and he knows I’ll always have an open mind,” Simone said of Gottfried’s endorsement.
Simone hails from a “working class family”; his grandfather was a union delegate, his father a taxi and truck driver and his mother a Peruvian immigrant. Simone has worked as the director of community outreach for former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, tackling issues like hate crime in the city, and almost a decade earlier as the legislative aide to the late State Senator Catherine Abate. He also served on Community Board 4’s land use committee. “I know how government operates, but I’ve seen the outside,” Simone said, “so I’m not closed off to ideas and voices [of those] who are actually advocates and activists on the ground.”
Gottfried suggested that Simone’s spirit of collaboration would make him an effective leader. “Tony is someone who will always listen to the concerns of our local communities and will let them guide his priorities,” he said. “He is a coalition-builder who believes in accomplishing our goals through collective action, a principle that has guided my own time in the Assembly.”
Gottfried’s staff has joined in aiding Simone’s campaign, he said. Among Simone’s priorities, if elected: ensuring livable wages and flexibility to work from home, as has become popular (and at times required) during the pandemic; helping those who work in the district to afford to also live there; and increasing traffic safety. Many problems plaguing the district and the city, he believes, have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our platform is based on livability, equity, affordability and health,” he said. Addressing mental health and safety in the district is also top of mind.
“There’s no silver bullet to this complex problem,” Simone said. “But we’ve solved these issues in the past in this city and state; we can do it again.”
“I know that Tony is running for office because he loves this community and wants to serve it. As someone who loves this community, too, I believe there’s no better person to represent us.” Assembly Member Richard Gottfried