provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Simon retired in November 2018 as the longest-serving state director for the American Civil Liberties Union with 23 years as executive director in Michigan and 21 years as executive director of ACLU of Florida.
Simon graduated from the City College of New York and earned a Ph.D from the University of Minnesota. He taught philosophy at the University of Minnesota and DePauw University.
During his 44 years with the ACLU, Simon worked on a number of high profile issues including school vouchers, the Terri Schiavo case, abortion rights, legislation barring doctors from talking to patients about guns in the home, schoolbook and library censorship, and the right of gay men and lesbians to adopt children and marry.
His work for voting rights began in 1965 as a college student working during the Selma to Montgomery march for passage of the Voting Rights Act, and includes:
Drafting the 2018 constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for former felons
Working successfully to replace electronic voting with the paper-based optical scan voting systems
Challenging Legislature’s restrictions on voter registration and early and Sunday voting
Helping secure passage of the Fair Districts Amendments to curb partisan gerrymandering
After his retirement from the ACLU, Simon founded Clean Okeechobee Waters Foundation to work with a team of medical researchers who have linked toxins in blue-green algae to neuro-degenerative diseases. He works to secure policy changes to mitigate pollution of Florida’s fresh waters that create harmful algal blooms.
Simon is a Board member of Calusa Waterkeeper and the Florida Policy Institute. He and his wife Beth Wilson reside on Sanibel Island.
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