Meet Nick Simmons, Democratic candidate for State Senate

Newsletter Volume 2 • Number 49

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Nick Simmons has been a student of bipartisan politics for much of his life.

Bipartisanship was something of a family affair in the Simmons household. His father took him to the Republican National Convention at age 10. (Event highlight? Nick met “The Rock.”) His mother took two other Simmons siblings to the Democratic National Convention.

The product of an Irish Catholic Democrat, and a centrist Jewish businessman who switched parties more than once and served presidents of both, Nick says his parents emphasized that service to others was one of the most important things one could do with their life. At Coffee for Good earlier this week, Nick described how that mindset informed his decision to run for the 36th State Senate District. 

Nick Simmons at the finish of the St. Patrick’s Day parade

Our senator should be working for us

“When I was growing up in Greenwich, there was bipartisanship, and most public leaders I knew were focused on getting things done,” Nick recalls. “My siblings and I never had to worry about gun violence, the women in my family never had to worry about their reproductive rights, and there was no fighting over fixing our schools or local infrastructure. I think that’s why our state representatives have flipped ‘blue.’ Residents see that Democrats are more serious about fixing what’s broken, rather than taking extreme positions on common sense social issues.”

He considers his opponent to be Exhibit A. “My own senator voted against the gun safety bill, and against bills to protect and expand access to abortion,” Nick notes. “But he’s done very little to get state money appropriated for our crumbling district schools that should have been rebuilt a decade ago; and nothing for I-95 traffic improvement, which is as bad as it was when I was growing up; and nothing to protect beautiful Greenwich Point! It’s predicted to be under water before too long.”

Bridging partisan divides through public service

Although he’s a first-time candidate, Nick’s schooling in bipartisan public service spans decades. He interned for 4th District Republican Congressman Chris Shays one summer during high school, and majored in political science at Yale. After college it looked like he would follow a more typical path—Wall Street. But after nine months there, he realized he was miserable. “So I hit reset,” Nick deadpans.

The reset was big. He became a seventh grade math teacher at a middle school in Harlem, and at age 26, acting principal. 90% of Nick’s students were from low-income families, 99% were of color, and they eventually ranked as some of the highest performing students in the state.

This success whetted his appetite for wanting to positively impact people through government service more broadly. Nick received a joint masters in business and public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy and Business schools, and found a strategy role in the administration of Democratic Governor Ned Lamont. During COVID-19, Nick helped oversee Connecticut’s school reopening, catching the attention of the Biden administration. So, tapped as a senior advisor, he worked out of the US Department of Education to help oversee school reopening for the whole country.

Returning to Hartford as Governor Lamont’s deputy chief of staff, Nick led the design and implementation of policies including the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars into growing the state’s economy, improving Connecticut’s infrastructure and schools, training thousands of workers to fill open jobs, and transitioning to a clean energy future.

In the meantime, Nick married, bought a house, and recently welcomed a baby boy. That helped to crystallize his next step. Mentioning his son, Nick reflected on the danger of extremism again. “This is my home. For our children’s sake, it’s time to bring back the core values I was brought up with—bipartisanship, service to others, getting things done—Greenwich values.”

Learn more about Nick’s campaign, and sign up to join the team here.

Greenwich House delegation comes through with funds for Central Middle School rebuild

State Representatives Steve Meskers (D-150), Hector Arzeno (D-151) and Rachel Khanna (D-149) have secured a State grant commitment for the construction of the new Central Middle School (CMS).

The grant is timely as the school was temporarily shut down in February 2022 over structural concerns, and the recent earthquake forced another evacuation to assess if the danger of collapse had increased. The House delegation was able to secure a reimbursement rate–20%–exceeding all expectations.

“We hope with this grant commitment in place the town can now focus solely on the task of providing a new middle school in the heart of Cos Cob,” said Representative Arzeno, who represents the CMS catchment area.

Attention Greenwich boaters

Welcome news for Greenwich’s many small marina operators! With an eye to keeping our waters accessible for recreational boaters, Democratic State Rep. Steve Meskers has successfully introduced a proposal to create a Small Harbor Improvement Projects account— a repository of funds specifically for smaller marinas to access when dredging projects are needed. The bill passed the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor’s desk.

State delegation legislative wrap up. Hear what our state delegation passed this legislative season. 7:00 p.m., Cone Room (2nd floor, Greenwich Town Hall).

Monthly meeting of Greenwich Democrats. Find out what we’re up to, and meet your Democratic neighbors. 7:30 p.m. Cone Room (2nd floor, Greenwich Town Hall).

Old Greenwich Memorial Day parade. March in one of our favorite events of the year! Sign up and join us under the Democratic banner to pay tribute to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms.

Honor victims and survivors of gun violence on National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Wear orange. Noon, Greenwich Town Hall.

Greenwich Pride 2024. 1:00 Greenwich Town Hall.

Our next book talk is with authors Louise Story and Ebony Reed who have just published Fifteen Cents on the Dollar, How Americans Made the Black White Wealth Gap. Refreshments provided, space is limited. Sign up here. 7:00 p.m., Sorokin Gallery, 96 Greenwich Ave.

Volume 2, Number 49 • May 9, 2024
Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.
Greenwich Democratic Town Committee P.O. Box 126 Greenwich, CT 06836