Simmonds told me in an interview that this Meet and Greet was the first of many more to come to give her constituents a chance to know her better. “I want to know what's happening in the community,” Simmonds said. “During the election there's a lot of door knocking and really quick interactions. I just feel like now I am getting my feet on the ground, so it's time for people to be able to stop in and get to know me and I get to know them.”
Simmonds may be a rookie MLA, but she has built her career standing up for people who needed help being seen and heard. She completed her articling at Nova Scotia Legal Aid after graduating from the Schulich School of Law in 2017. In the spring of 2021, she became the Executive Director of the Land Titles Initiative in the NS Office of Equity and Anti-Racism. And in August, she won the new Preston riding, and was elected Deputy Speaker of the House on September 24, the first African Nova Scotian woman to serve as Deputy Speaker.
In addition to chairing debates as Deputy Speaker, Simmonds serves on two committees. The Management Commission is responsible for the financial stewardship of all public money approved by the House of Assembly for the use and operation of the Assembly. It is also responsible for all financial and administrative policy affecting the Assembly and its members, offices, and staff. The Law Amendments Committee goes over public bills that have passed second reading in the House and hears testimony on those bills from any interested persons or organizations.
Simmonds moved quickly to introduce her first bill on October 14, Bill No.12 - Dismantling Racism and Hate Act. The bill lays out a multi-year strategy to eliminate race and discrimination in each provincial government department, crown corporations, and arm’s length organizations.
In her questions to ministers on the floor, she has brought her focus on the effects of racism to bear on such issues as strengthening and accelerating the clearing of land titles under the Land