Jo Anne grew up in working class Yonkers, NY, the oldest girl in a family of five. She learned early the value of family, commitment and respect for others. These are the values she brings to her profession and her community advocacy. Jo Anne moved to Brooklyn in 1981.
Jo Anne has served as female Democratic District Leader and State Committeewoman for the 52nd Assembly District since 2004, She has been a forceful leader to end politics as usual in the Brooklyn Democratic party, because she stands up for her constituents and puts principle over politics. As a result, she has once again been challenged by a candidate hand-picked by the Brooklyn machine.The first in her family to go to college, she graduated Iona College with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Sciences, Gallaudet University with a Master's Degree in Education of the Deaf, and Fordham University School of Law, where she earned her law degree at night while working full-time. After stints as a judicial law secretary and teaching in Hofstra University School of Law's clinical program, she now maintains a specialized disability civil rights law firm in Downtown Brooklyn and is an adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Fordham.
A few key facts about Jo Anne's experience organizing in our communities:
- President, Boerum Hill Association (1993-1999), Chair: Traffic & Transportation and Land Use Committees (1999-2005); Atlantic Yards Committee (2004-present)
- Co-founder, Downtown Brooklyn Coalition, a confederation of communities ringing downtown Brooklyn
- Founding member, BrooklynSpeaks.net, Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, Friends of Douglass/Greene Park; Hoyt-Schermerhorn Task Force, Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Task Force
- Immediate past Chair, Gowanus Community Stakeholder Group and Gowanus Expressway Community Coalition
- Founding member, Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD), an international organization of professionals serving postsecondary students with disabilities
- President, International Dyslexia Association-New York
- Member, Independent Neighborhood Democrats, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn
- Executive Committee, 504 Democrats, the country's oldest political club focusing on disability issue.