Jo Anne Simon at an abortion rights rally
Max Politics Podcast: Jo Anne Simon Runs for Congress in the New NY-10
Recorded July 12, 2022
Listen to the audio here, or at Max Politics wherever you get podcasts.
Democratic primary day: August 23, 2022
District: Lower Manhattan & parts of Brooklyn (see map here)
Ben Max: [Longer intro...] Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, thank you for being here. Welcome. How are you?
Jo Anne Simon: I’m great. Good to speak with you again this morning Ben.
Ben Max: Yes, we’re speaking here on the morning of Tuesday, July 12, and some listeners may know, last night I moderated a candidate forum in the race at a church in downtown Brooklyn. So we’ve spoken just hours ago in person and it was broadcast over zoom. So a quick turnaround here for us, but now we get to have a more extended conversation about you and your campaign. So start us off a little bit with just the broad rationale for running for Congress. Why are you doing this? Broadly speaking, what brought you into this race?
Jo Anne Simon: Well thank you, Ben. What brought me into this race, I think what brought everybody into this race, was the court's ruling that there would be a new congressional district that kind of changes the landscape of the 10th congressional district, as well as the 12th in Manhattan. And so when Congressman Nadler made his decision to run in the 12th, where he lives, this race was made open. So when I looked at the map of this race, I realized number one, my entire district was within the district.
Other districts that I had worked in and advocated in throughout Western Brooklyn, communities I had worked with over the years were also in this district, and I knew the issues. I am an issue person. I've always been about the intersection of our neighborhoods and our communities, and working within those communities to ensure that their voices are heard, and that Congress was a new way for me to serve those communities and the additional communities in Lower Manhattan.
Ben Max: And why Congress instead of the Assembly? What is it that appeals to you about being able to potentially represent these communities at the federal level? Is there something that is drawing you, is pulling you other than the trips to Washington, D.C. instead of Albany? What's drawn you here interested in Congress instead of the Assembly?
Jo Anne Simon: Well, so much of the challenges on the ground for New Yorkers are often a result of federal policy, federal funding decisions, federal rights, for example. And so I'm in a district where it's both bridges, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge come into my district. I have a major interstate highway. Those decisions and the funding of those decisions, or the lack of funding of the infrastructure, are critical issues to the folks I represent and anybody who's in that Western Brooklyn corridor. The Gowanus Canal Superfund Site is in my district. That has been something that we worked on getting for for many years, and that is an EPA Superfund site. So the federal issues on the ground are very. Housing is another major issue that affects my district, as well as everybody's district. The lack of support that the federal government has given to public housing and other housing programs over the last several decades has really made so much of our housing unaffordable and untenable. So those are big issues at the federal level that also affect all of us here in New York at the ground level, and because I have that experience in working with communities, city, state, and the federal government, for me, this was a natural move to sort of connect those dots in a fundamentally different way than you can from a single Assembly district.
Ben Max: Gotcha. So we'll get into more of what you want to do if elected in a moment, but let's talk about your Assembly tenure. You were elected in 2014, so you've been there several terms now. What would you say are your top accomplishments in the New York State Assembly?
Jo Anne Simon: Well, I would say a couple of things. Number one, I'm very proud to have been part of the effort that really passed codification of Roe vs. Wade in the state Legislature. That was something that we heard all the time we didn't need to do because of Roe in the Supreme Court, we’d never overturn it. Many of us knew that was not going to be the case, and so we fought very hard to ensure that we had those rights here in New York. And all of the amplification of those rights and the ability to welcome people to New York for that kind of care is something I'm very proud of having been a part of. I've also passed the “red flag” law in New York. We passed it several times in the Assembly. I’ve passed it twice before we had a Democratic Senate and were able to get it passed in the Senate. It is really the strongest such law in the country. It is quite protective of anybody's rights under the second amendment, but it is also very specific about the criteria that needs to be met and the evidence that needs to be submitted to the court in order to get those guns away from people who shouldn't have them. And that protects New Yorkers, and I'm very excited about the way we are currently expanding and really mandating that law enforcement actually refer those cases to the court as opposed to making a decision based on what was perhaps a different standard under criminal law, which really doesn't apply. The red flag law is a civil procedure, so there's no criminality involved at the time that that petition is made to the Supreme Court and the evidence brought to the judge.
I've also this past year passed a groundbreaking supported-decision making so that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have as much control over the decisions that affect their lives as possible. But you know, a few years ago, I passed a bill that requires that school districts be able to use the words dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia, in and around the IEP process for students with disabilities. And that is something that school districts had been telling parents they were not allowed to do for about 40 years. We changed that and have really opened the door to more such progressive changes with regard to addressing the needs of kids with reading disabilities, as well as just reading in general in New York. So I've been working very hard on those issues, and I'm very proud of my work to pass that seminal bill. I closed the LLC loophole. I have a bill for zoonotic transfer of viruses, which sounds a little wonky, but you know, climate change, deforestation, loss of habitat, that is encouraging all of these viruses to mutate and to jump from one species to the other. We need to be doing what we can do here to ensure that that doesn't happen in our country.
Ben Max: Let me quickly jump in there. Just explain that a little bit more, what would that do in New York? And that's a proposal, not something that's passed?
Jo Anne Simon: Well it's passed in, the Assembly, I believe, but it hasn't taken off in the Senate. It’s a two House legislature. So it's a bill I'm working on, I mean it's not a bill, we're still working on that issue. But the more you hear about this latest variant, the more that is evidence that we need to start making decisions differently. We have a lot of these rare species that are getting imported into the country illegally or they're getting imported into the country and it's not yet illegal. We want to make sure they're not coming into New York. We don't want to feed that crisis. And as more states get on board with doing this kind of legislation, then it will bubble up and become easier for I think, passage at the federal level, to really look at how climate is impacting our health beyond the ways that we all know about, which is pulmonary disease and asthma, and, so many of the implications in the way our children's cognition is affected by the toxicity on our environment. We know about those things, but we're not paying as much attention to what we're doing to actually encourage or allow new variants of various viruses. COVID has been terrible, and we have learned a lot about it, but we haven't learned as much as we should. But COVID isn't the last one that might come around, and we need to be much more intentional about the work that we do in that area.
Ben Max: Let me ask about the red flag law. You noted that you passed it previously. And then recently, after the massacre in Buffalo, it was tightened up here and, as you said, sort of requiring law enforcement to file in civil procedures. There are clearly some challenges with implementation around the law. Just looking back at that and evaluating that, where do you see the gaps there? Is that something that once this was signed into law by then Governor Cuomo, there should have been more done to ensure stronger implementation and education in localities and among the state police and local law enforcement? Was there something that needed to be followed up on in terms of implementation there?
Jo Anne Simon: Yes, I think so. Senator Kavanaugh carried the bill in the Senate. We were really trying to work with the administration on getting the various agencies that might be involved in these circumstances to work together to ensure that there was better public education. And just recently before the shooting in Buffalo, in fact, I was talking with the Governor's office in the Speaker's office and some folks in the Senate about the need for a massive public education campaign, so that people knew about their rights under the extreme risk protection order bill. And because in fact, it's not just mass shootings, I mean we want to eliminate those. It's also other interpersonal violence, and it's also suicide. So when you look at some of the counties have really gotten behind implementing that. Suffolk County, for example, has been the lead user of the red flag laws’ protections compared to other counties.
And I think a lot of it has to do with — if you have a member of your family who is saying the kinds of things that are warning signs for gun violence, they may be purchasing weapons, they may be stockpiling ammunition. Most people don't know what to do. If you look at Parkland, for example, the mother went to the cops and said, ‘My kid needs help, can you talk him out of this?’ He hadn't done anything wrong at that point, and the cops can't do that. Right, they might sit him down and have a conversation, but they have no authority, and people don't want to get their family members in trouble with the law. So also, they may be fearful themselves. So it is important that they know that they can go, for example, to law enforcement, or they can talk to the school authorities. Very often to just the school authorities that also get wind of the concerns of young people who may end up getting an illegal weapon, but when they're making threats of violence of various kinds. So the schools are often in a position to know this information. They too can file a petition with the Supreme Court in every county to seek an extreme risk protection order.
And I think that the fact that law enforcement has filed most of these petitions goes to the fact that law enforcement may come into contact with folks earlier, but also, they can be a great repository and a safety valve for those people who aren't quite sure how to do it themselves or are fearful of doing it themselves. And so, law enforcement should know how to do that. The Office of Court Administration has a very, very well rounded page on how to file for an extreme risk protection order. It's very user friendly. It is designed to be used by people who are not lawyers. I think that's a great way we need to make sure people know about that, but I'm also not unmindful of the fact that for some people, it may be a daunting process, and I think that that's where law enforcement can step in and have their attorneys filed this civil petition for extreme risk protection order and get guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.
Ben Max: The state Legislature holds a limited number of oversight hearings. Do you think there should have been more oversight from your Legislature on the implementation of the red flag law or even just broader gun measures that have been signed in the last several years? Obviously, when Democrats took control of the state Senate in 2019 and you had the Democratic majority of the year part of the Assembly, the Democratic governor, then Cuomo. And you then had full control of state government. There was a flood of legislation passed. So many things that were given attention and passage and new budget allocations and a lot of different things. So there's always sort of a limited calendar for what gets chosen. But would you, looking back, would you say there should have been more oversight about the implementation of this and other gun regulations?
Jo Anne Simon: With the benefit of hindsight, that sounds like an idea. I think that the real issue in the initial stages of, and remember this was effective in August of 2019, so it's not a law that's been around for a very, very long time, was really focusing on getting the word out, and that's going to be really handled by state entities and differently in different counties throughout the state. I think you could see, for example, in Suffolk County, Suffolk County really took it seriously and went about educating people, and really using that process. So I think number one, there's always an issue with implementation and how much we support that and in what way.
I think that what we have seen also in some instances is once legislation is passed, that sometimes the administration doesn't follow through and for example, I can cite to part of the New York SAFE Act, and the fact that there was supposed to be a registry for bullets, bullets for handguns. That you can only buy a bullet for a handgun you owned. That will help drive registration. About 5% of our firearms in New York State are actually registered. But in fact, once the bill was passed, the Republican conference really didn't want that database to be developed, and so there was a memorandum of understanding between the governor and the Republican leadership in the state senate to kind of not move forward with that. Governor Hochul has recently canceled that memorandum of understanding, and we are focusing on building out that database in a fundamentally different way than it was before. So sometimes it's the public's interest, sometimes it's the Legislature, which doesn't administer laws, doesn't implement laws ourselves, and the agencies may or may not be as collaborative with the Legislature as we would like in some cases, but also, sometimes it's from the administration's actions as well, and that that issue with the database has been a big one — it’s been one we've been concerned about for quite some time. I'm very glad that Governor Hochul has taken the lead on that.
Ben Max: Let's talk about what you want to do in Congress, if elected, what are some of the top priorities? Obviously, at this forum we were both part of that occurred the night before we're speaking here, we're talking again on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 here, hosted by a number of Brooklyn democratic clubs. We were discussing things related to voting rights and protecting women's reproductive rights, climate, a variety of the very high-profile issues, of course, that especially given recent Supreme Court rulings, are particularly top of mind for many voters, especially Democratic voters. But what do you want to highlight for people listening here in terms of your top priorities if elected to Congress? Are there specific bills that you just want to become part of, hopefully in your mind, a majority in the House that helps push through? Are there specific under the radar pieces of legislation that you'd want to highlight for people or things you would look to introduce that don't exist already? What do you want to highlight for folks in terms of your top priorities if you were to head to the House?
Jo Anne Simon: Number one, I think what needs to be top of mind for everybody is climate. I certainly support the Green New Deal and those efforts to build into Build Back Better and the infrastructure plan to fund what it is we need to fund to achieve a healthy and safe environment. We have a long way to go in doing that, and there are, without a doubt, there will be other bills that can be brought to the floor and other appropriations that we can advocate for to effectuate that. And climate goes to issues like our housing, right. This federal government has not supported public housing and other innovative programs. And so for example, we need to keep fighting for that $40 billion that will help make NYCHA livable again, and moving forward with additional federal programs. Right now, they have section 202 housing, for example, that really prioritizes low-income communities, as well as people who are seniors and people with disabilities. So we need to strengthen the laws that we have and also fund those things in a much more constructive way because climate is affecting all of us in all of the areas of life, and so I think we have to really sort of look at that as kind of part of the linchpin to the way that our people live our lives, right. So all of the flooding, all of the fires out west, all of this is really about climate change and the failure of the federal government to have pursued that. And that is often as you know, something that has been a very divisive issue politically, and I point the recent decision in West Virginia vs. the EPA, where I don't know who is supposed to guard against greenhouse gas emissions then the EPA, I mean, it is only in their name, Environmental Protection Agency, and the environment is very much impacted by greenhouse gasses.
So we are going to have to, I believe, codify what it is we need to do, that the Supreme Court has said that the EPA didn't have the authority to do, so that's one approach. I think we need to really deal with this issue of of access to abortion and pass the Women's Health Protection Act, and also ensure that we look at other ways that we can protect people who are seeking care. Very pleased that the President has come out and said that the states cannot just allow women to die. When the life of the mother is at stake, that the Supreme Court's ruling doesn't apply. I think we can also do a lot at the executive level. We can talk about the use of our Native American lands, we can talk about the use of now there’s a doctor in California who wants to do abortions on boats, right, that you can have a medical ship and provide that care. It's being done in other countries. I think that's a great way of kind of evading the issues of certain states that have really banned or all but banned abortion rights. So we need to be creative, and I'm looking forward to working with people on coming up with solutions for these issues. And I think if we just codify Roe vs. Wade and and expand that in the Women's Health Protection Act, that will make a big difference because the Legislature, which is Congress, has a right to pass federal laws and the Supreme Court can't overrule a federal law that is constitutionally passed.
Ben Max: Interesting. The politics of Washington are obviously very fluid right now. There's the question of whether, if you're elected to Congress, it's all but certain that a Democrat will be representing this new district, of course, at some of the highest Democratic enrollment areas of the state. But the question of balance of power in the House, in the Senate, these are up for grabs in the general election that will be coming this fall. But let's just say in the current landscape, that something close to it remains, it's not a given by any means, but the Democrats continue to have a slim majority in the House and a tie breaking vice presidential majority in the U.S. Senate. What do you make of those dynamics? Because there's people who obviously think — you get some of this in Albany, too, that the far left of the Democratic Party is pulling the party a little bit too far to the left at least a little bit and people saying that that's turning off a lot of moderate voters and you have Latino voters and Asian voters in in some significant numbers moving towards the Republican Party on some issues. But then you have, of course, a couple of the more moderate to conservative U.S. senators who had been holding up certain priorities of the President and Democrats. What do you make of that landscape? And what do you see, again, just assuming the sort of current landscape, which which will obviously change by next year, but what do you make of that landscape and the path forward for Democrats with these narrow majorities and how to get to agreement on some big ticket things to deliver for Democratic voters and the public?
Jo Anne Simon: One thing I think that is true is when you're in a Legislature, just because you think you're right, doesn’t mean it sells well. But I would say, the right has a very effective echo chamber. And I think that you see that with the migration of recent immigrants, particularly Asian immigrants, are often very conservative. And their notion of socialism is China, which is, in my mind, more fascist and socialist. So I think some of the language we use is misunderstood by certain groups of people, number one. And the other thing, I think, is that the Democrats have been a big tent and we have always had these internal conversations, and we are much more likely to have those internal conversations more publicly. That is something that the Republican Party doesn't do, right. They will talk amongst themselves, but you know as Hillary Clinton once said years ago, the Democrats need to fall in love, but the Republicans fall in line. And I think what we need to do is really respect and honor everybody's views in the Democratic Party.
We need to listen to each other, and I think we have so much more in common than not. So I think a lot of what it is that kind of makes it seem like the left is too left, etc., is often some of the media coverage, and it's also led by the Republican echo chamber, right. The reality is that there are many things that they just deliberately misconstrue and miscommunicate about that aren't real, and we need to be better at combating that. We need to be better at saying ‘No, that is not the facts. The facts and the data and the science show X, they do not show Y.’ And so you saw that with one of the referendums last year no fault absentee voting, which we have fought for years so that people don't have to be sick or out of town to vote by absentee ballot. Mail in voting was something that all of the red states had and most Republicans states, it's all by mail in ballots, right? But they've demonized that. And so they went around and started campaigning that this would allow for ‘illegal aliens,’ to vote. It absolutely had nothing to do with that whatsoever. But the Democrats were caught flat-footed, they didn't properly educate, they didn't realize early enough that there would be this campaign to misconstrue and misrepresent what this would do. And we're not taking that lying down and we're moving forward on doing it again.
Ben Max: All right, we're in our last few minutes here with state Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, who represents the 52nd assembly district in Brooklyn, which covers a significant stretch of the new 10th congressional district. And she's running in that Democratic primary, which is happening in August. Speaking of the sort of politics of the race, you represent this assembly district that's within the new congressional district. It is a very high turnout district. It delivered you. You ran for Brooklyn Borough President last year, it delivered you a very strong showing in that race. This is an even more crowded field here in the congressional primary. What's the sort of path to victory? How much do you need your assembly district to really come through for you in this race? And how do you sort of see where your other stronger areas of support might come from? How are you branching out into Manhattan in this race? Just a few thoughts on the sort of politics and your path to victory here. What do you make of it?
Jo Anne Simon: Well, I think that, yes, the 52nd AD, I have been the top vote-getter in the state for the last three terms, so the AD 52 does vote. In last year's race, I won the 44th as well, and there's a lot of commonality in those communities. And here's where my community experience really matters. People know me — not just the people in my district — because I was leading on those issues of street safety early on, on environmental justice early on, on working with communities on those issues that we share in common, whether they were in what is now the 52nd assembly district or not, because I worked with with communities throughout Western Brooklyn and in and around downtown Brooklyn, which is also another assembly district, part of it, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have traditionally been a different assembly district. Folks know me and they know my work. I have been like them in the trenches. I've been that person in the auditorium looking to get my voice heard with officialdom, whether it's an agency or elected officials, and so I know what people's concerns are and I am always there listening and working with people.
I'm very accessible. I have these “Java with Jo Annes” all the time. People know they can come to me. People who come to my “Java with Jo Annes” are often people from outside my assembly district because they have questions about something that affects their district that also affects mine. And similarly, when I've been out campaigning, people have said, ‘I'm not in your district, but you and your staff helped me with my unemployment benefits last year when nobody else would.’ So that to me is meaningful, and I think that people respond to that experience. But I also think, for example, that folks in Manhattan have very, very similar concerns, right. Resiliency is a big issue. Housing is a big issue, development and the development of enough affordable housing and the displacement of people. Whenever there's a big project being done, people are inevitably displaced. How do we counter that? How do we ensure that people are not pushed out of the neighborhoods that they built their lives and their homes and raise their families there? That young people can afford to live in the communities that they were raised in? That is something that we need to work together on. These are thorny issues, and when you've been working with people consistently over the years, people hear that message. I believe, for example, that is one of the reasons why I was just endorsed by the Downtown Independent Democrats, which is the largest Democratic club in Manhattan, as far as that goes, because what I'm talking about resonates with them and their lives. They want someone who will fight, and someone who will listen to them and work with them, and be able to read between the lines on so many of these proposals.
There are a lot of things that sound like good deals, but you really have to look at them to see if they're all they're cracked up to be. And if they're not, then you need to find effective ways to ensure that that project becomes more responsive and doesn't end up doing damage that none of us really want. So I think that I have a message that is resonating with people in both boroughs, and that is my path to victory. I also think this district, we've never had an August primary before. We've had September, so there's been a lot of summer campaigning certainly in the past, but never in August. And so it's going to be an issue where people who are those primary voters, those people who are most deeply engaged, those people like the constituents in my district that come out and vote, rain or shine, they will come out and vote in primaries. That data shows that the double prime votes, that could be triple primes in this race, we don't know, 30% of them come out of my district, and 60% of them are women. So the demographics and the turnout numbers also are key to my path to victory.
Ben Max: In this crowded race, your Assembly district coming in big for you could be almost all you need. All right, I just want to get to a few other things here. This is sort of a rapid fire, let's call it a lightning round type of thing. Just a few quick questions, short answers, if you don't mind. You are keeping open the possibility of appearing in the general election for your Assembly seat. Is that correct?
Jo Anne Simon: Yes, I’m on the ballot as you know. If I am successful in the congressional primary, then the lawyers will figure that out. And the governor would call a special election to fill the seat.
Ben Max: Right. I mentioned in the introduction, Representative Mondaire Jones moved to the district just a few weeks ago. You've been in the district, as you've noted, since the early 80s. You've been in the assembly for seven, eight years now. What do you make briefly of him moving into this district to run? Do you think that's fair game, or do you do you know, does that sort of make you bristle at all?
Jo Anne Simon: It's unusual. I think that you see that in some of the questions that people are asking. He's going to run his race. He's going to have to bring his experience to bear and convince the voters of the 10th congressional district that they should be voting for him. In the meantime, I'm focusing on my race.
Ben Max: And Mayor Bill de Blasio, the former mayor is in the race as well obviously. He has much deeper roots in the district than Mondaire Jones. Briefly, how do you capture your assessment of his record as mayor? If you're asked about it, your sort of clear answer to people on the street. What do you make of his record in eight years as mayor of New York City?
Jo Anne Simon: I would say it was mixed. He's done some excellent things, but it's been mixed in other ways. I think that he would say that himself. I think his communications and his speed of decision-making has been problematic in a lot of people's minds, and frustrating if nothing else. I have been personally less happy with the way this city has stepped up and taken responsibility for the work it needs to do and the Gowanus Canal Area, because it's a responsible party and has significant obligations under the federal remedy that in my mind, they have dragged their feet on for way too long. But again, the former mayor will make his commitments, and he will campaign. He has the benefit of 100% name recognition. I think that my community roots are different than his. As you know, I didn't come out of politics, he did, and I am making my case to the people on the ground who are going to be in those voting booths. And I'm confident that I can compete.
Ben Max: Last couple and these could each be a half hour discussion, but just for the sake of the record here. Do you think it's time for the Rikers Island jails to be under a full federal receivership? Just just yes or no is fine and we can discuss further at another time. But there's obviously a monitor and there's questions about whether there should be a receivership. Mayor Adams has argued against it and they've gotten a bit of a reprieve from the courts. But do you think it's time for receivership for Rikers?
Jo Anne Simon: I do think it's time. Obviously, the court has given the administration a little more time, but I think it's moving in that direction.
Ben Max: And lastly here, you mentioned public housing earlier. We discussed it a bit at that forum last night. But short of tens of billions of dollars coming from the federal government from NYCHA, and I understand you and any of your competitors here in this race would be fighting for that in Congress, and it could come. But separate from that, short of that, is there a NYCHA rescue strategy that you're particularly supportive of other than tens of billions of dollars coming from the federal government? There's the new NYCHA Preservation Trust that you and your colleagues just passed and the governor signed into law, so that will help raise some money. But beyond that, do you support some affordable housing infill development in NYCHA? Do you support a lot more sales of air rights? Do you support the Rental Administration Demonstration program? Are there any NYCHA-related strategies, any one in particular that you support?
Jo Anne Simon: Each of these ideas have issues that I think need to be further developed, so it's very hard to say in a quick answer situation. I do not believe we need to be privatizing public housing. The NYCHA Preservation Trust, in fact, is still public ownership. I think there's some misunderstanding about that among tenants, and certainly their lack of trust in NYCHA is well deserved. But I do think that we were able to come out with an approach that gave a lot of autonomy to the residents of NYCHA housing and preserves the public ownership of NYCHA. Infill housing, that's been proposed, it’s been proposed in one of the public housing developments in my district, it hasn't happened — I think that's a good thing. Part of the problem is if you look at the way NYCHA developments are built, there was sort of a theme in the urban design of that, which also means that it's much harder to actually do viable infill developments from a position of light and air and open space. And so I think that it seems to be one of those ideas that looks good on paper, but not very much in the implementation and the doing of it, and it's not happened, and for a large portion, it's been very little of that that's actually occurred. Sales of bear rights, again, that goes to who's gonna buy those air rights. If it's a big developer that is not going to consult with community in a real way on the ground, I think that's a problem. We need to look really at what it is we mean by these things and how they could end up furthering displacement, for example, in the unaffordability of neighborhoods. I think we don't look at that seriously enough, in the beginning when we're first talking about these ideas, and we need to do that much more.
Ben Max: All right. Well you weren't you weren't in a rush, so I wasn't gonna rush you there to give answers on meaty topics here. We've covered a lot. There's still plenty more to get to down the line, but Jo Anne Simon, assemblymember and running for the Democratic primary nomination in the new 10th congressional district, thank you for the time and and be well.
Jo Anne Simon: Thank you so much, Ben. Nice to speak to you again.
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette