I stand with Harry Cohen for multiple reasons. Among those are a few different points: a solid record, a bold platform, and genuine character. Please take the time to review if you are still undecided in the Tampa mayoral election, or do not know much about City Councilor Cohen!
A progressive record:
While on the Tampa City Council, Harry has accomplished some relatively impressive feats. His most notable accomplishment, in my opinion, was propelling the cannabis decriminalization ordinance into law. This is an often overlooked and underrated accomplishment, which some of us on the left have conveniently disregarded, while over 2,500 people in Tampa have avoided unnecessary persecution and arrest. I, for one, owe Harry my freedom, as I would have been arrested in late 2016 had it not been for his hallmark ordinance. That some in our leftist community would underate such an action is well beyond me. It should go without saying that this is a truly progressive accomplishment.
Harry was one of three on the City Council to join a delegation to Cuba during the Obama years wherein he called for open travel between Tampa and the island. That was a progressive action in support of good policy. Cohen was the driving force behind a comprehensive stormwater ordinance which will be crucial in preventing major floods and protecting the citizens of Tampa. With those three points in mind, it is clear that Harry’s record on the City Council has been proactive and progressive!
A fantastic platform:
Aside from his stellar job on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, we in the leftist community greatly admire strong platforms, like those of Senator Bernie Sanders. I will equate Bernie to Harry here with some insight to his progressive platform. Harry has outlined plans for affordable, equitable housing and climate action. He supports the legalization of cannabis (this is important as State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith has introduced legislation to do just that statewide), and is one of only two mayoral candidates to do so! Harry has a plan for a Grand Metro Center to bolster public transit options in Tampa while supporting rail and bus expansion. He has the endorsements of Emgage, Indivisible Action Tampa Bay, The Tampa Bay Progressive Caucus, and several distinguished figures, including former City Councilor Mary Mulhern who has first hand experience dealing with Buckhorn as Mayor (and thus has an eye for those who are quite different from Bob). Harry’s platform is bold and progressive!
A sincere approach:
While Harry is a progressive, he is also a practical person with his own ideas and strategies. I did not agree with his vote on TBX (which I am greatly opposed to) and I made this clear to Cohen during our one on one meeting. Rather than obnoxiously argue with me, or whitewash his past actions,!he looked me in the eye and shared his reasoning. He explained his desire to alleviate traffic in the Westshore area while opposing the toll roads—while we didn’t agree, still, he did not waver and gave a genuine response. I also spoke to Harry about the bathhouse ordinance and had a candid discussion about decriminalizing sex work; while we did not agree on the issue, he did not avoid the question or attempt to drown my concerns with his own, instead opting to respectfully disagree on the position, while sharing his willingness to listen. We need elected officials who will engage in a genuine dialogue with us, who will champion decent character, and listen to constituents. That is arguably more critical than electing the purity test, especially in a day when those we elect sometimes deviate from their platform while maintaining a proud ego. Still, I look for those with progressive records and platforms, who balance their politics with sincerity. That’s Harry!
If Harry’s vote on TBX or the bathhouse ordinance is disqualifying to you, consider how each candidate in the mayoral election has some sort of baggage. We cannot install a purity test with politicians and expect 100% cleanliness. We can, however, aim for the most progressive, leftist candidate who will listen to our concerns regardless of their personal taste. I know there are three other great candidates in the race whom I respect, and I won’t hold it against anyone to support their bids. I am, however, supporting Harry Cohen for Mayor due to his work, impact, message, and character. I hope you will, too! The election is March 5th!