Warren Cohn is no stranger to the political game. In fact, it’s all he’s ever known. A third generation Brooklynite, Warren Cohn is the son of Steve Cohn, a seasoned and well-respected politician who has served as state committeeman—or district leader—of the 50th Assembly District for the last 30 years. Now, 22-year-old Warren is following in his father’s footsteps, hoping to replace him as the next district leader.
“I grew up in politics. I have pictures at dinners being carried around by my dad,” Cohn said calmly, his hands folded and his tie slightly loosened. “And it went from that to the here and the now.”
Cohn graduated from Tulane University in 2009. He was a member of the Hurricane Katrina class, many of whom were forced to relocate to other universities for an extended period of time, including Cohn, who attended St. John’s University for one semester during which he got involved with Congressman Ed Towns’ re-election campaign. After graduation, Cohn returned to Brooklyn, and landed a full-time job working with the Congressman doing constituent outreach, veteran’s affairs and immigration suits.
Between Cohn’s involvement with Hurricane Katrina relief during his tenure at Tulane, volunteering in Haiti just two weeks after the devastating earthquake and diving head-first into his job at Congressman Town’s office, it became clear to that politics would be much more than just Cohn’s legacy. It would become his passion.
“It was Hurricane Katrina that really got me motivated. It made me want to get involved through community service,” Cohn said. “I love community activism and community work, and I really feel that besides my passion for it, I have ties. My grandfather was the assemblyman and judge for this area. My dad has been district leader. I have good connections with a lot of local elected officials so I feel I’ll be able to do a lot for the community in a small party position like this.”
Though district leader is a little-known position within the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Cohn wholeheartedly believes that, if elected, the position of state committeeman could potentially bolster the political career he hopes to one day have. However, he also vows that, while he recognizes the limitations of the post, he intends to take full advantage of the opportunities it presents, as well as take seriously the responsibility, care, concern and commitment it will require.
“I have to start small,” Cohn said. “I’m not jumping out there and running for a major position. I want to start small, and really work with the community on a day to day basis. I want the community to have an open door to me, and I have an open door to a lot of the elected officials already. I’m in a position to be a liaison, an intermediary between the community and the elected officials. I think I can affect change that way.”
If elected, Cohn says he will be as visible and involved as possible in all areas of the district, talking to neighborhood residents about the most pressing community issues like open space, parks, commerce, waterfront access and more. Cohn says he will use his youthful energy, as well as his willingness to work with elected officials and neighborhood leaders across party lines, to advocate for the betterment of Brooklyn’s communities.
“I see myself as a bridge-builder and a peace-maker,” Cohn said. “I’m taking the steps in the political game. I’m putting one foot in the door right now, but I don’t want to look too far ahead. I want to appreciate each step and each voter and each person I meet.”
“I will work day and night for this community,” Cohn continued. “I’ll work across party lines, to bring this community what they want.”