Howard Simon

Howard Simon

Howard Simon retired in November 2018 as the longest serving state director for the American Civil Liberties Union in the organization’s 100-year history – serving 23 years as Executive Director in Michigan, and 21 years as Florida Director.  

Howard graduated from the City College of New York and earned a Ph.D. in legal and political philosophy from the University of Minnesota. He taught at the University of Minnesota and DePauw University as a member of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. 

Howard led the Florida ACLU through numerous controversies including those involving school vouchers, abortion rights, the Terri Schiavo case, and a host of issues involving freedom of speech. 

He has been an advocate for voting rights since working as a college student in Selma for the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. With the ACLU, he:   

  • helped draft the constitutional amendment to restore the right to vote that ended Florida’s Civil War-era lifetime voting ban;
  • worked successfully to replace paperless electronic voting with the paper-based voting system now in use throughout the state;  
  • challenged restrictions on voter registration and efforts to restrict early and Sunday voting, and
  • helped secure passage of the Fair Districts Amendments curbing partisan Gerrymandering.

Following his retirement from the ACLU, Howard created the Clean Okeechobee Waters Foundation to work with biomedical scientists and physicians who have linked toxins produced by Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) to neurological illnesses, including ALS and Alzheimer’s disease. 

He is an advocate for policies, especially action by the Florida Legislature, to address the public health threat from HABs. 

Among other post-retirement projects, in addition to serving a s a Board member of the Florida Policy Institute, Howard is proud to be a Board member of Calusa Waterkeeper. 

Howard and his wife Beth Wilson retired to Sanibel.

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