Steve Cohen

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Steve Cohen

Steven Cohen is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 9th district of Tennessee.


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. [1]


  • B.A. Vanderbilt University 1971
  • J.D. University of Memphis School of Law 1973 [2]


Cohen established legal practice in 1978 after serving as a legal advisor for the Memphis Police Department.[3]

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. [4]


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. [5]

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, Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson,,, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.

Steve Cohen signed the letter.[6][7]

J Sreet endorsement

In 2008 Cohen was endorsed by JStreet PAC.[8]

The socialist infiltrated, anti-Israel "two state solution" JStreet PAC endorsed Steve Cohen in his 2014 Congressional race. [9]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

As of February 20 2009 Steve Cohen was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[10]

Populist 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.

Planned Parenthood

Cohen received $1225 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.

"Impeach Cheney"

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.[11]

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" .[12]

Stonewall Democrats endorsement

The Memphis Stonewall Democrats endorsed Steve Cohen for U.S. Congress (House District 9) and Steve Mulroy for the Shelby County Commission (District 5), for the August 3, 2006 election.

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".

Jim Maynard is a leader of Memphis Democratic Socialists of America. [13]

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.[14]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Michael Barrach, was assigned as contact for Rep. Cohen.[15]


John Yarmuth and Steve Cohen with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez
Edwards, Ricardo Alarcon,President of the National Assembly of People's Power Yarmouth, Cohen, March 23 2011
Front row John Yarmuth, Steve Cohen, Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Donna Edwards, Sarah Stephens

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."[16]

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.

The trip was sponsored by the Center for Democracy in the Americas, whose goal is to open Cuba and improve U.S. relations with that nation and others in Latin America.[17]

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.[18]

Meeting Marc Frank

Marc Frank, center, blue shirt, on left

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

A May 03, 2013 Press release from the radical controlled and Institute for Policy Studies affiliated Latin America Working Group's Cuba Team stated:

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.[19]

IPS celebration for Conyers

Steve Cohen addresses the event

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)[20], and members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus. Robert Borosage sent a tribute.

Speakers included civil rights icon Julian Bond, actor and activist Danny Glover, IPS founder Marcus Raskin, and Congressmembers Charles B. Rangel, Jan Schakowsky, Steve Cohen, and Alan Grayson.

John Cavanagh and Karen Dolan of the IPS MC'd.

Friends and colleagues of Congressman Conyers from all stages of his work for civil rights, peace, human rights attended.[21]

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,, Win Without War, Economic Policy Institute, and Center for Economic and Policy Research.[22]

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.[23]


The following have worked as staff members for Steve Cohen:[24]

External links


  1. official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
  2. official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
  3. official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
  4. official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
  5. official Congressional bio, accessed Aug. 21, 2011
  6. War Is A Crime .org, Peace Pledge Coalition
  7. [ Sign the Pledge for Peace petition. Bob Fertik August 19, 2007
  8. J Street 2008 Annual Report
  9. J Street The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans
  10. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  11. /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
  12. Legistorm: Center for Democracy in the Americas - Sponsor of Congressional Travel (accessed on August 30, 2010)
  14. The Commercial Appeal, Leftist groups meet for Midtown protest Jody Callahan 12:00 AM, Jun 13, 2011
  15. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  16. U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth calls for normal relations with Cuba 12:13 PM, Mar. 25, 2011
  17. for Democracy in the Americas, March 25, 2011 | CDA U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth calls for normal relations with Cuba
  18. The Commercial Appeal,
  19. Update on Cuba Travel: We Gathered 59 Signatures, The LAWG Cuba Team: Mavis, Emily and Karina on May 03, 2013
  20. Jim: Mail & Guardian. Numsa won't convert to a 'political party'13 DEC 2014 13:54
  21. Representative John Conyers 50 Years in Congress
  22. John Conyers’ 50 Years of Service
  23. Polis, Blumenauer Lead Letter Urging White House to Choose Progressive DEA Chief May 1, 2015
  24. [LINK Legistorm: Steve Cohen] (accessed on Aug. 24, 2010)