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Councilman Zeke Cohen announces campaign to run for Baltimore City Council president

Councilman Zeke Cohen announces campaign to run for Baltimore City Council president
Councilman Zeke Cohen announces campaign to run for Baltimore City Council president 00:58

BALTIMORE - Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen is launching a campaign to become the Council's next president. 

Cohen announced at an event at Baltimore's Center Stage in Mount Vernon his intention to challenge current Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby for the seat.

Cohen represents Baltimore's 1st District.

"Tonight, I am proud to announce my candidacy to be the next Baltimore City Council President," Cohen said. "I love our city. Baltimore artists, restaurants, theatres and parks punch all above their weight class. I love our grit and our quirkiness. I love that every time we get knocked down, we get back up and we pull each other up."

In Cohen's message, he spoke about how current city leaders are "impeding" Baltimore's progress of growth.

Not only did he mention "petty" disputes, Cohen spoke about distractions like Mosby's proceedings and allegations of ethics violations.

Mosby announced last week that he plans to run for reelection.

The Baltimore City Board of Ethics argued that Council President Mosby violated three sections of the city's ethics code, after a legal defense fund was established by a third party to provide financial support for Mosby and his wife, former Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

"An honest truth is that some of our leaders have become an impediment to our progress," Cohen said. "Too much time is spent settling petty grievances, trying to pass bills that makes no sense and repeatedly violating the ethics code."

The councilman also mentioned the city's lack of weekly recycling services.

Baltimore City is offering major bonuses to those with a commercial drivers license to fill critical vacancies, including for trash and recycling pickup.

 DPW reports a 25 percent vacancy rate.

"We are told we don't deserve great services, or even weekly recycling services," Cohen said. "We deserve better. We are tired of excuses. We are tired of waiting for another generation for problems to be solved. We need a leader of the city council that brings people together and fixes systems instead of causing chaos and picking pointless fights."

In an interview with The Baltimore Banner, Cohen, a Democrat, said that dysfunction and chaos persist at City Hall, while pointing to hundreds of millions of dollars of federal stimulus money and a roster of new leadership in Annapolis with close Baltimore ties, the Democrat said that dysfunction and chaos persist at City Hall despite a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make progress.  

"The only thing that is getting in our way right now is our leadership," Cohen said in an interview with The Baltimore Banner. "Baltimore deserves better. People are looking for better. And I'm hoping that that's me."  

As City Council President, Cohen said equity and public safety will be major focal points.

Baltimore has had 300+ murders for eight years in a row.

"We know that our city has been devastated by violent crime," Cohen said. "We are losing far too many of our children to gun violence. I'm proud to be the only councilman to stand with (State's Attorney) Ivan Bates during his campaign and help him  get elected. I will continue to stand with him as he continues to rebuild the State's Attorney's Office."

Cohen touted the passing of the Single-stall Bathroom Legislation which was signed at a pride parade.

"We will not allow our LBTGQ community to be bullied or harassed," he said.

Also, the Neighbors Against Illegal Dumping Act and the Strengthening Renter's Safety Act, in which Cohen supported.

"Our message to slum landlords could not be more clear," Cohen said. "We will find you and if you do not come into compliance and clean up your property, we will take away your permit and ability to operate in our city."

The Democratic primary currently will be on April 24, 2024, but lawmakers are pushing to have it changed because it falls on Passover.

According to the Baltimore Banner, Cohen is one of a few elected city officials, including Mayor Scott and fellow council members Isaac "Yitzy" Schleifer and Eric Costello, to have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the most recent campaign finance reports filed in January. 

Reported by The Baltimore Banner, Cohen will focus on change in his campaign pitch.

"I think that in this moment, people are tired of feeling like their elected leaders are constantly fighting with each other, that they're unfocused, distracted by either petty politics or personal problems," Cohen told the Banner.

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