Councilman Zeke Cohen, of Baltimore City Council’s first district, won reelection.
Speaking with the JT, Cohen, who spends his High Holidays at Beth Am, said that he was with his family watching the presidential election results at home when he learned he had won his race, after spending much of the day campaigning at the Southeast Anchor library branch, which served as a polling site.
Saying that he felt “great,” Cohen spoke of how he “ran on a message that community comes first, and I’m proud of our first four years in office, and looking forward to another four.”
According to Cohen, his only challenger in his general election race was a last-minute Republican write-in candidate named Donna Rezeka.
Cohen credited the lack of a non-write-in challenger for his seat to his “being independent and making decisions that are in the best interests of my constituents and our community, and I think folks knew that.”
Cohen said that his first priority in the coming term will be to ensure the full implementation of the 2019 Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, which is intended to help relieve the trauma that children and families in Baltimore experience when exposed to things like violence, housing insecurity and institutional racism. The act creates a citywide task force co-chaired by Cohen, he explained, “with the vision to identify goals and data and metrics to reduce childhood trauma,” while also calling for all city agencies to receive training in trauma-informed care and to review and rewrite their policies and procedures with the aim of reducing retraumatization.
Cohen also wishes to continue emphasizing “world class constituent service,” and to continue representing marginalized communities whose voices are not always heard, such as immigrant and racially diverse communities.
Cohen raised a few eyebrows on Nov. 2 when he chose to publicly endorse Green Party candidate Franca Muller Paz for the seat currently held by fellow Democratic Councilman Robert Stokes Sr., who also won reelection. Asked about his motivations for the endorsement, Cohen said, “Franca’s a friend, I’ve known her since college,” while calling Paz “an outstanding educator and organizer. She’s someone with a vision, and someone who truly lives out her values.”
Cohen stated he meant no disrespect to Stokes and said he hoped that they would both be able to work together productively in the future.
Cohen also recently welcomed his second child, an infant boy named Elias, on Oct. 9.