SUNY Trustee Marc J. Cohen announced his candidacy for New York State Assembly in front of Amherst Town Hall today. Surrounded by community leaders and supporters, Cohen set out a vision for the 146th Assembly District, which encompasses the towns of Amherst and Pendleton.
“Albany is in desperate need of new progressive leadership,” said Cohen, who currently serves as President of the SUNY Student Assembly and as a Trustee for the State University of New York. “I am ready and eager to make advocating on behalf of this community my full-time job - the people of the 146th district deserve nothing less. For too long we have lacked a strong, active voice in the Capitol. We need someone who isn't afraid to stand up for improving our schools, protecting our environment, strengthening our economy, and repairing our infrastructure."
Cohen has engaged in policy-making at every level. As a Trustee for the State University of New York, he is responsible for guiding the system’s $13.3 Billion budget and representing the 600,000 students across SUNY’s 64 campuses. As Co-Chair of the Board’s Student Life Committee, Cohen deals with issues relating to affordability and debt, campus safety, diversity, food-security, and mental health. He also serves as a Trustee for the Higher Education Services Corporation, the Board responsible for administering financial aid awards in New York. In the realm of national and international policy, Cohen was named AIPAC Ally of the Year for his work on strengthening the American-Israel relationship, and has spoken at their annual policy conference on several occasions. He also served the College Democrats of America as Finance Director for the alumni association and then as National Deputy Director for Development.
"Marc has what it takes to represent Western New York in Albany," said Steven Meyer, former Democratic candidate for the seat and union activist. "Having worked with Marc for many years, I have no doubt that his knowledge of policy, process, and public administration will serve the people of this district very well."
Among his priorities, Cohen is committed to using the office to restore public confidence in the state government. He said, “All too often politicians ask voters to blindly trust in them. Instead, I ask that the voters evaluate me based on my platform and my track record of success. As SUNY Trustee I routinely engaged with policy makers in Albany and Washington to advocate on behalf of the largest system of higher education in the country. I’ve worked hard to build relationships in an effort to make meaningful, positive change for our communities. You won’t get anything less from me as your Assemblymember.”
Locally, Cohen has volunteered hundreds of hours serving on several committees. He currently sits on the Open Government Advisory Board which advocates for increased and improved transparency in Amherst. Previously, he was an appointed member of the Amherst Youth Board, was President of the Amherst Youth Court, and a representative on the Amherst Youth Consortium. Cohen was born and raised in Amherst, attended Williamsville East High School, and graduated from the University at Albany Summa Cum Laude with a degree in political science.