Cahill Strategies extends our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz.
From The New York Times:
Michael Simanowitz, a member of the New York State Assembly from Queens, died on Saturday at age 46, according to an Assembly spokesman. He had been battling cancer, friends said.
Mr. Simanowitz, a Democrat, was elected to the Assembly in 2011, replacing Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, for whom he had served as chief of staff for roughly 15 years.
Like many junior members of the body, he cut a relatively low profile, which friends said was intentional.
“It wasn’t about self-aggrandizement for him — it was about helping people,” said City Councilman Barry Grodenchik, a friend who worked with Mr. Simanowitz in Mrs. Mayersohn’s office. “He did his job quietly. He didn’t hold a lot of press conferences. He wasn’t on Twitter every two seconds.”
“This is really unusual in the business I’m in,” Mr. Grodenchik added, “but I cannot remember one time when he called for a favor for himself. It was always for somebody else.”
Mr. Simanowitz grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, and lived in Electchester, a cooperative in Flushing of 38 buildings and roughly 2,500 units built in the mid-20th century by Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He represented a racially diverse district that included parts of Forest Hills and Flushing, as well as parts of College Point, Whitestone, Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Briarwood, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill.
An Orthodox Jew, Mr. Simanowitz attended Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe in Kew Gardens as a child, according to Chaskel Bennett, a classmate and a board member of Agudath Israel of America, an advocacy group for ultra-Orthodox Jews.
“Michael was one of the biggest guys in the class,” Mr. Bennett recalled, describing him as “a gentle giant” who protected smaller boys.
Mr. Bennett, who lost touch with Mr. Simanowitz for a number of years before reconnecting with him in Albany, said that the assemblyman was a strong supporter of measures to help religious and other private schools, including a proposed tax credit meant to expand access to them. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made a strong push for the tax credit proposal in 2015, but it foundered in the Assembly.
“He was a proud Jew, proud of who he was, proud of his heritage,” Mr. Bennett said.
Among the bills Mr. Simanowitz sponsored that became law was one requiring minors to have parental consent before getting a body piercing, and another that banned the use of unclaimed bodies as cadavers in medical or mortuary schools without the written consent of a spouse or next of kin, or unless the deceased had registered as a body donor.
Mr. Cuomo said in a statement, “Assembly member Michael Simanowitz worked every day to make life better for his constituents and I join them and all New Yorkers in mourning his sudden passing.”
Representative Joseph Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic caucus and chair of the Queens Democratic committee, said of Mr. Simanowitz, “He was beyond reproach, the most honest and one of the most decent people I’ve ever met.”
Read more at The New York Times…