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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Andrew Cohen outlines his agenda at swearing-in ceremony

By Shant Shahrigian
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Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Newly elected Councilman Andrew Cohen gets a kiss from his 5-year-old daughter Sarah after taking the oath of office at Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre on Sunday.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
State Supreme Court Justice Edgar Walker administers the oath of office to Councilman Andrew Cohen as his wife Heather Erhard and their daughter Sarah stand by his side.
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District 11 Councilman Andrew Cohen named education, parks improvement and homelessness prevention as being among the top priorities of his term at his inauguration ceremony on Sunday.

Several hundred supporters came to Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre for the event, which featured elected officials from new City Comptroller Scott Stringer to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer singing Mr. Cohen’s praises.

“I have to tell you the moment is truly overwhelming,” said Mr. Cohen. “The campaign is over. The rhetoric is over. No more campaign promises. It’s time for the real work to begin.”

Education was the first issue Mr. Cohen mentioned in his speech, saying he has begun meeting every principal in District 11 and that he plans to meet with every school’s parents’ association to “take their concerns directly to City Hall.”

“There is a lot of discussion right now about income inequality and what we’re going to do about it,” the councilman said. “There is no more powerful or effective tool to fighting poverty than education.”

Mr. Cohen continued the theme by saying he will work with Mayor Bill de Blasio — who made income inequality the center of his campaign and his own inauguration speech, on Jan. 1 — to make prevention the main tool in the fight against homelessness.

“Homelessness prevention policies are cost effective and more humane than homeless shelters,” said Mr. Cohen. “These homelessness prevention policies can and will have a real impact on this district.”

Adding that the Bronx faces a major increase in homeless shelters in tandem with the citywide increase in homelessness, Mr. Cohen said he will fight against a proposed new shelter on Webster Avenue called the Muller Center. There is already a facility for homeless people, called Part of the Solution, at 2763 Webster Ave.

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