The Commercial Appeal has announced its endorsement in the 9th District Congressional Democratic Primary:
The Democratic primary pits three-term Rep. Steve Cohen against challenger Tomeka Hart, a member of the Shelby County unified school board. In the Republican contest, Dr. George Flinn, who lost a GOP primary bid for the state’s 8th District U.S. House seat two years ago, is running against Charlotte Bergmann, who lost to Cohen in the November 2010 general election.
Democratic primary: This race features an experienced, effective legislator in Cohen against an opponent, Hart, who has been heavily involved in local issues, including being a force in education reform on the local and state levels.
Both are excellent candidates. However, we believe STEVE COHEN’s experience has earned our nod for a chance for a fourth term.
Hart, a lawyer, is president and chief executive officer of the Memphis Urban League, whose main purpose is to secure resources, devise strategies, and plan and implement programs that will lead to the continuing reduction and removal of social and economic barriers. It’s a job which makes her very aware of issues and problems that impact Memphis’ economic and social vitality. She also is a member of the Education Commission of the States and TN SCORE (State Collaborative on Reforming Education).
Hart believes Cohen has not provided the “bold and proactive” leadership in Washington that Memphis needs to move forward. In short, she says, he simply performs and provides the routine duties and constituent services expected of a member of Congress.
We disagree with that assessment. Cohen has been a persistent, persuasive and professional presence in a chamber where he is in the minority party. The three “p” words came from David Hinson, director of the federal Minority Business Development Agency, last week in describing Cohen’s successful three-year effort to bring Tennessee’s first federal Minority Development Business Center to Memphis.
Landing the center is emblematic of Cohen’s understanding and advocacy for federal support for numerous initiatives, from research grants to transportation projects, that have benefited the district.
We hope Hart continues her advocacy for public education and for the community’s needs, either as a private citizen or through some other elected post. But, based on the job he’s done in Congress for almost six years, Cohen has earned a shot at another term.