About Anna M. Kaplan
Chair of Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business
Anna Kaplan was born Anna Monahemi in Tabriz, Iran to a Jewish family. When the Islamic Revolution swept the country, Anna's parents made the difficult decision to send her on her own to the United States for safety. She arrived in Brooklyn as part of an international effort to save Iran's Jewish children and was sent to live with a foster family in Chicago, where she learned to speak English and completed high school. Eventually, Anna was granted political asylum by the United States government.
After her family was finally reunited, they moved to Queens, New York, where Anna graduated from Yeshiva University Stern College for Women, and then Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Anna settled in Great Neck, New York where she and her husband raised two daughters, and she felt a strong desire to give back to the country that had opened its arms to her as a child in need. After years volunteering at her daughters’ public schools and in her community, she decided to run for the Great Neck Library Board, where she served a four-year term. During that time, she was appointed to the Town of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals. In 2011, Anna was elected Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman for the Fourth District, where she passed groundbreaking legislation such as a town-wide ban on gender identity discrimination and worked across party lines to help the town achieve an AAA bond rating for the first time in its history. She also advocated and helped secure more affordable housing for district seniors and rehabilitated numerous parks within the district.
Anna first ran for State Senate in 2018, calling for the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, sensible gun safety legislation, and increased economic development in Nassau County. Her election victory made her the first political refugee and the first Iranian-American elected to the New York State Senate.