September 5, By Tara Law
Michael Simanowitz, who represented the 27th Assembly District that includes Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, has died. He was 45 years old and passed away from an undisclosed illness.
Simanowitz, a Democrat, was instrument in the passage of several laws, such as requiring that children receive parental consent for body piercings and punishing perverts who view child pornography.
Simanowitz was chief of staff to Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, who also represented District 27, for 15 years. While working in that position, he helped draft legislation to strengthen drunk driving laws and to protect at-risk children and rape survivors.
Upon Mayersohn’s retirement in 2011, Simanowitz was elected in a special election to succeed her.
Simanowitz joined the NYPD 107 Precinct Auxiliary, a volunteer unit of the NYPD that covered Flushing, in 1995. He was promoted to the rank of deputy inspector within the auxiliary unit and was recognized by the NYPD for his volunteer efforts on and after Sept. 11 and during the 2003 blackout.
Simanowitz was also a lauded member of the Jewish community, and was recognized by the Queens Jewish Historical Society and other civic organizations.
“Michael cared deeply about the people of Queens and fought tenaciously on their behalf throughout his distinguished career in public service,” said Borough President Melinda Katz in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo also offered his condolences to Simanowitz’s friends and family.
“We shared a love for our home borough of Queens and a belief in public service as a vehicle for positive change,” said Cuomo, who comes from the borough. “As an Assembly member and prior to that a staffer, he was widely respected by his peers and his partners in government.”
Simanowitz spent his childhood in Forest Hills, and was most recently a resident of the Elechester Cooperative in Flushing.
Simanowitz is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and four children.