Difference between revisions of "Steve Cohen"
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Congressman Steve Cohen is a fourth-generation Memphian who has dedicated his life to public service. As a child, he was stricken with polio, but through hard work, he was able to beat this debilitating disease. <ref>[http://cohen.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=76&Itemid=4, official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011]</ref>
Congressman Steve Cohenis a fourth-generation Memphian who has dedicated his life to public service. As a child, he was stricken with polio, but through hard work, he was able to beat this debilitating disease. <ref>[http://cohen.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=76&Itemid=4, official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011]</ref>
Revision as of 05:03, 11 August 2017
- 1 Background
- 2 Education
- 3 Career
- 4 Tennessee State Senate
- 5 Congress
- 6 Peace Pledge Coalition
- 7 J Sreet endorsement
- 8 Congressional Progressive Caucus
- 9 Populist Caucus
- 10 Planned Parenthood
- 11 "Impeach Cheney"
- 12 Staffer's 2010 trip to Cuba
- 13 Stonewall Democrats endorsement
- 14 Gay Education rally
- 15 Progressive Student event
- 16 Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
- 17 PDA contact
- 18 Cuba
- 19 Lifting travel ban on Cuba
- 20 IPS celebration for Conyers
- 21 Urges "progressive" DEA chief
- 22 ARA endorsement, 2012=
- 23 ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
- 24 Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation
- 25 2016 Cuba visit
- 26 Staff
- 27 External links
- 28 References
Congressman Steve Cohen is a fourth-generation Memphian who has dedicated his life to public service. As a child, he was stricken with polio, but through hard work, he was able to beat this debilitating disease. 
- B.A. Vanderbilt University 1971
- J.D. University of Memphis School of Law 1973 
Cohen established legal practice in 1978 after serving as a legal advisor for the Memphis Police Department.
Tennessee State Senate
During his 24 years in the Tennessee State Senate, Congressman Cohen amassed a strong record of passionate, honest and unselfish service. He consistently spurned special interests to stand up for the people’s interests. On issues ranging from women's rights to animal welfare, Congressman Cohen was a relentless advocate in the Tennessee State Senate even in the face of overwhelming opposition. Before he was elected to Congress, he became known throughout the state as the “Father of the Tennessee Lottery,” after leading the referendum effort that instituted arguably the most successful education initiative in Tennessee history. 
Upon election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, Congressman Cohen immediately distinguished himself on the Hill for his "thoughtful legislation and quick wit". His pointed questioning of Bush Administration officials like Alberto Gonzalez, David Addington, Monica Goodling and Michael Mukasey in the highly influential Judiciary Committee quickly earned Congressman Cohen the reputation as a champion of government accountability and a fierce interrogator. Speaker Nancy Pelosi even referred to him as the “conscience of the freshman class” in 2008. In August of 2008, he was instrumental in passing H.Res.194, a House resolution apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African Americans. 
Peace Pledge Coalition
In 2007 90 Members of Congress, pledged in an open letter delivered to President Bush: "We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office." The letter was initiated by the Peace Pledge Coalition. The Coalition was led by Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America, Bob Fertik, Democrats.com Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org, Democrats.com, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.
J Sreet endorsement
JStreet endorsed him again 2016.
- Cohen, a five-time JStreetPAC endorsee, has been a strong friend of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement. He has consistently supported J Street-backed initiatives in Congress and taken a leadership role in encouraging his colleagues to do the same..
Congressional Progressive Caucus
The Populist Caucus was founded on February 11, 2009 in the United States House of Representatives by Democrat Bruce Braley of Iowa. The caucus originally included 26 other Democrats in the House, including Steve Cohen.
Cohen received $1225 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.
In January 2008, nine out of 23 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee favor starting impeachment hearings against Vice-President Dick Cheney. Six of the nine are co-sponsors of H.R. 799, which contains three articles of impeachment. The nine Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who favored impeachment hearings were: Robert Wexler, Fla.; Luis Gutierrez, Ill.; Anthony Weiner, N.Y.; Tammy Baldwin, Wisc.; Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas; Steve Cohen, Tenn.; Keith Ellison, Minn.; Maxine Waters, Calif.; and Hank Johnson, Ga.
Staffer's 2010 trip to Cuba
Rep. Cohen sent Marilyn Dillihay to Cuba for 3 days in March/April 2010. The trip was courtesy of a $2,127.40 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas... "Fact-finding trip to understand the importance and culture of U.S. policy toward Cuba" .
Stonewall Democrats endorsement
- Because of the commitment of these two candidates to social justice and equality for all Americans, Memphis Stonewall Democrats urges our members and progressive voters to support the campaigns of Steve Cohen for Congress and Steve Mulroy for County Commission,” states Jim Maynard, Vice President of Memphis Stonewall Democrats".
Gay Education rally
An array of groups on the political left gathered in Midtown Memphis, June 2011 to protest recent decisions and policies from the right.
About 200 people representing several groups gathered at First Congregational Church in Cooper-Young. Those groups included the Tennessee Equality Project, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region and the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center as well as union supporters.
They were protesting recent proposals from the Tennessee legislature, including removing funding from Planned Parenthood, ending collective bargaining for teachers and a measure that would prevent teachers from discussing homosexuality in classes.
"This last legislative session in Nashville should serve as a wake-up call for us," Michelle Bliss with TEP said. "We're here, we're together and we will not be quiet."
State Sens. Beverly Marrero and Antonio Parkinson joined the rally, as did city school board member Jeff Warren and County Commissioner Steve Mulroy. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen showed up near the end of the event.
Progressive Student event
The time to decide is drawing near and the College Democrats at the University of Memphis are encouraging students to exercise their right to choose who will impact their lives for the next four years.
With Congressman Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., the group will host the 2012 Get Out the Vote Rally on Thursday in Johnson Hall, room 110 in partnership with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and the Progressive Student Alliance.
The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be provided.
The rally is not to endorse Cohen, but to encourage students to vote, said Tyler Flowers, junior political science major and president of the College Democrats at the U of M.
Representatives from the student organizations sponsoring the event will each speak on topics ranging from fair pay and women's rights to taxation and gay marriage.
Nick Mastron, senior political science major and director of public relations for the College Democrats, said the rally is also about demonstrating the role of government in students' lives.
He said the rally is an opportunity for students to show an active interest in government.
Anthony Lucatelli, sophomore sociology major and chairman of the Progressive Student Alliance, said his organization will speak about what students can do outside of the electoral process to make a difference in the community.
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center Worked with Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) to introduce the Restorative Justice in Schools Act (H.R. 415) in January 2011.
As did their subsidiary JustPeace MEMPHIS - Alternatives to Incarceration & Criminal Justice Reform, worked in 2010 with Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) to introduce the Restorative Justice in Schools Act.
Rebuild the Dream Press Conference
Rebuild the Dream Press Conference in Memphis, TN on September 1, 2011. Brief speeches were made by Representative Steve Cohen, Martavius Hampton, Cody Mathis, and Brad Watkins of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.
November 21, 2011 Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN-9) announced the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded Shelby County, Tennessee $2,619,999 to develop a Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan. The development plan will address the critical need for initiating long-term comprehensive land use planning in the region.
“It is important that we develop a comprehensive land use plan that will spur economic development and improve housing and transportation in Memphis,” said Congressman Cohen. “These new federal funds will help Shelby County develop a Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability plan that will grow our city in a way that makes it easier for Memphians to find work, quality housing and utilize mass transit to improve their quality of life.”
Effective community engagement and capacity building are critical to the process and the project proposes to demonstrate a citizen-based regional planning process. This process will be driven by a consortium working in partnership with governmental bodies and the private sector to establish a regional vision and structure for ongoing engagement and setting goals for the major focus areas of the working groups.
Once a vision has been developed and working groups have established goals and priorities, the project will advance to funding sub-area or topic-focused plans or pilot planning efforts from the regional to neighborhood level. Implementation of these sub-plans is expected to occur through adoption of formal policy recommendations, citizen advocacy and realignment of budgets and capital improvement plans investments/staffing.
Partners in the program include The West Memphis MPO, The Mid-South Regional Greenways Steering Committee, ULI-Memphis, The Hyde Family Foundation, Memphis Regional Design Center, Community Development Council of Greater Memphis, and the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.
Mid-South Peace & Justice Center’s 35th anniversary
"Our goal is to guarantee that Donald Trump will not be able to govern comfortably. ... If you think you've been to a lot of demonstrations in the past, well, multiply that by a hundred. Or a thousand over the next period," she said, and the audience cheered.
Earlier, she said Trump embodied the worst elements of oppression and capitalism. "He represents precisely those forces of capitalism that have impoverished so many of the people who decided to vote for him, because they feared for their future."
"Sometimes I feel really nostalgic about that era because it meant we were connected with people all over the world, because there were communist parties all over the world," she said. "And so we felt as if we were a part of a global struggle. The Cuban revolution was our victory. And we don't have that now."
The organizer of the event, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, billed the annual fundraising banquet as a kickoff to long years of struggle against Trump's policies. In an email before the event, the staff wrote, "We will, with every resource at our disposal, stand against an agenda that denies the dignity and humanity of people of color, undocumented families, women, people with disabilities, and those of the Muslim faith. These values are non-negotiable."
Banquet attendees filled not just the seats at the round dinner tables but the church balcony, and some stood in the back. The event was attended by some Memphis elected officials including Shelby County Commissioner Eddie Jones as well as state Sen. Lee Harris and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen.
Just back from a trip to Cuba, in March 2011, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said that it's time for the United States to normalize relations with its island neighbor.
"Nobody is winning from our policy there," the 3rd District Democrat said in an interview. "We aren't winning and they aren't winning. There's no question it's time to normalize relations."
Yarmuth and Democratic Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Donna Edwards of Maryland spent four days in Cuba. They met in Havana and other cities with government leaders, U.S. officials, scholars, economists, foreign diplomats, physicians,artists, farmers and journalists.
- Just back in Memphis after a five-day fact-finding trip to Cuba, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen said he was surprised at the lack of interference with the practice of religion and impressed with the slow but evident moves toward economic privatization on the island nation.
- The trip with two other members of Congress during a recess was paid for by the Center for Democracy, a non-partisan, non-profit devoted to promoting democracy.
- The Memphis Democrat said he met with the Cardinal Archbishop of Havana, Jaime Ortega, and was given assurance that the 75 parishes there are free of restrictions.
- He also met the president of the Cuban National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon. In discussions with the Cuban foreign minister, it was made clear that the era of Fidel Castro is over and that his brother, Raul, is now fully in charge.
- "Raul understands the changes that have to be made," Cohen said. "They're trying to make the economy less socialistic … and more free-market." He said some attitudes from the Cold War are still evident and that some of the "old guys" on both the Cuban and American sides are going to have to "die off" before normal relations are established.
Meeting Marc Frank
0n March 23rd, Steve Cohen, John Yarmuth, Donna Edwards, and Sarah Stephens of Center for Democracy in the Americas, met with Reuters, and Financial Times journalist Marc Frank - former writer for the Communist Party USA's People's Daily World, and a propagandist for the Castro regime.
Lifting travel ban on Cuba
- Due to your action/emails/phone calls we have 59 signatures from House representatives urging President Obama to support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.
- By eliminating the laborious license application process, especially for people-to-people groups, that is managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the majority of the bureaucratic red tape that holds up licensable travel to Cuba would disappear and actually facilitate what the President wanted to see in 2011, liberalized travel regulations.
Signatories included Rep. Steve Cohen.
IPS celebration for Conyers
January 7 2015, "John Conyers’ 50 Years of Service", was celebrated at Andy Shallal's Eatonville Restaurant in Washington DC., primarily sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies. Guests included Robert Creamer, and Irvin Jim of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (a self proclaimed Marxist-Leninist), and members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus. Robert Borosage sent a tribute.
Friends and colleagues of Congressman Conyers from all stages of his work for civil rights, peace, human rights attended.
Co-sponsors included: The Sentencing Project, The Nation, Peace Action, National People’s Action, Restaurant Opportunities Center United, Jobs with Justice, Friends of the Earth, Social Security Works, Campaign for America's Future, US Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Council for a Livable World, Alliance for Justice, Fund for Constitutional Government, ProgressiveCongress.org, Win Without War, Economic Policy Institute, and Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Urges "progressive" DEA chief
May 1, 2015, Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sent a letter to President Obama urging him to nominate a new Drug Enforcement Administration chief that has a more progressive approach to federal drug enforcement. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) also joined in sending the letter.
The Representatives urged the President to nominate a DEA Administrator who is willing to work with state and federal officials to create policies that work with—not against—the evolving landscape of state marijuana laws. The letter states that retiring DEA director Michele Leonhart placed too great an emphasis on prosecuting marijuana use and not enough on drug-related activity that truly poses a public-safety risk.
“The DEA plays a critical role in promoting the health and safety of Americans. But to succeed in its mission, it must refocus its efforts on cracking down on bad actors who seek to evade state laws rather than those who abide by them,” the Representatives wrote. “All of us share a commitment to keeping drugs out of the hands of children, diminishing the reach of criminal cartels, and helping individuals who are addicted to drugs find the help they need to turn their lives around.
“To accomplish these aims, the DEA must end its resistance to the changing public consensus on marijuana use and stop expending its limited resources to prosecute individuals who are not a threat to public safety and, instead, focus on drug activity that poses a more serious risk,” they added.
ARA endorsement, 2012=
ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation
On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States 
The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerald Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.
2016 Cuba visit
Obama will be the first president to visit Cuba in 88 years, and the trip is a symbolic next chapter in his attempts to normalize relations with the country.
The House members will attend along with several senators who previously announced they will make the trip.
The House delegation includes Reps. Karen Bass, Cheri Bustos, Sam Farr, Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel, Kathy Castor, David Cicilline, Steve Cohen, Jan Schakowsky, Peter Welch, Alan Lowenthal, Jim McGovern and Lucille Roybal-Allard. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California will also travel to Cuba along with Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Tom Udall of New Mexico are slated to join the trip. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has been a leading advocate for normalizing relations with Cuba, will also attend. Additional House Republicans may also join.
Pelosi previously led the first official House delegation trip to the country after Obama announced the change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in 2014.
The following have worked as staff members for Steve Cohen:
- Elisa Addington
- Brian Alberts
- Tammy Anderson
- Linda Archer
- Kristee Bell
- Karyn Bigelow
- Steven Broderick
- Reisha Buster (Reisha)
- Alycia Carter
- William Connor IV
- Shirley Cooks
- Marilyn Dillihay
- Michelle M. Donches
- Craig Dulniak
- Daniel Finer
- Michael Fulton
- Charles Gerber, Jr.
- Tracey Goodman
- J. William Goold
- Travis Green
- George Greenfield
- David Greengrass
- Sherman Dewayne Greer
- Willie Henry, Jr.
- Terence Houston
- Brittany Johnson
- Jeremy Jordan
- Malcolm Levi
- David Mann
- Andrea Martin
- Paul Moinester
- Michael Pagan
- James Park
- Reisha Phills
- Elizabeth Rincon
- Mary Self (Beanie)
- Neeraj Shah
- James David Sims, Jr.
- Susan Sowell
- Taiwo Stanback
- Sarah Talkovsky
- Marzie Thomas
- Cora Thompson
- Randall Lee Wade, Sr.
- Linda Yan
- official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
- official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
- official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
- official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
- official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
- War Is A Crime .org, Peace Pledge Coalition
- [http://www.democrats.com/peace-pledge Democrats.com. Sign the Pledge for Peace petition. Bob Fertik August 19, 2007
- J Street 2008 Annual Report
- J Street The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans
- JStreetPAC 2016 Endorsees
- Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
- /opedne_david_sw_080121_national_lawyers_gui.htm OpEdNews Op Eds 1/21/2008 at 18:31:10 National Lawyers Guild President on Impeaching Cheney By David Swanson
- Legistorm: Center for Democracy in the Americas - Sponsor of Congressional Travel (accessed on August 30, 2010)
- MEMPHIS STONEWALL DEMOCRATS ENDORSE COHEN AND MULROY FOR AUG. 3 ELECTION
- The Commercial Appeal, Leftist groups meet for Midtown protest Jody Callahan 12:00 AM, Jun 13, 2011
- Daily helmsman, Congressman comes to campus, encourages students to vote Erica Horton Oct 31, 2012
- 2010 MID-SOUTH PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER PROGRAM REPORT
- Youtube, Rebuild the Dream, Memphis, TN - Sep. 1, 2011.mp4 Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
- Cohen Announces $2.6 Million to Develop Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan Nov 21, 2011
- AppealAngela Davis attacks capitalism, Trump Daniel Connolly , USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee Published 5:09 p.m. CT Jan. 14, 2017
- PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
- courier-journal.com U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth calls for normal relations with Cuba 12:13 PM, Mar. 25, 2011
- for Democracy in the Americas, March 25, 2011 | CDA U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth calls for normal relations with Cuba
- The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/us-rep-steve-cohen-cuba-appears-be-more-tolerant
- Update on Cuba Travel: We Gathered 59 Signatures, The LAWG Cuba Team: Mavis, Emily and Karina on May 03, 2013
- Jim: Mail & Guardian. Numsa won't convert to a 'political party'13 DEC 2014 13:54
- Representative John Conyers 50 Years in Congress
- John Conyers’ 50 Years of Service
- Polis, Blumenauer Lead Letter Urging White House to Choose Progressive DEA Chief May 1, 2015
- H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States, accessed December 26, 2015
- Politico, Pelosi, 16 House Democrats to join Obama trip to Cuba By Lauren French,| 03/14/16
- [LINK Legistorm: Steve Cohen] (accessed on Aug. 24, 2010)