Open main menu

Adele H. Cohen (born July 19, 1942)[1] is an American lawyer and former politician. She is a 1964 graduate of Brooklyn College.[2]

Adele Cohen
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 46th district
In office
February 9, 1998 – November 7, 2006
Preceded byJules Polonetsky
Succeeded byAlec Brook-Krasny
Personal details
Born (1942-07-19) July 19, 1942 (age 77)
New York City, New York
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Steven Cohen

Participation in politicsEdit

1991 race for New York City CouncilEdit

After having failed in her first attempt to run for office against incumbent City Councilman Samuel Horowitz in the 33rd district of New York City in 1989,[3] Cohen made her second run for office in the 1991 Democratic primary election for New York City Council District 48 in Southern Brooklyn, which had been created as part of the expansion of the city council membership prior to the election.[4] She ran in a tightly contested six-way Democratic primary that included both Anthony Weiner, the future Congressman who was then a congressional aide to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, and Michael Garson, who was endorsed by the Kings County Democratic County Committee, representing a labor-dominated coalition known as the Majority Coalition for a New New York.[5][6]

Controversy erupted in the last weeks of the campaign, however, when Weiner's campaign anonymously spread leaflets around the district which alleged ties between Cohen and the so-called "Jackson-Dinkins agenda." The leaflets referred to the Crown Heights riots earlier in the year, which suggested that Jesse Jackson (who became notorious for his earlier remarks about New York City as "Hymietown") and mayor David Dinkins as having been beholden to the predominantly-African-American rioters, and thus endangering white residents.[7] Dinkins, during the campaign, described the leaflet as "hateful". When Weiner admitted his campaign's distribution of the leaflets, he stated that he "didn't want the source to be confused with the message";[8] The New York Times issued an editorial which rebuked Weiner's "hit-and-run tactics".[9] Cohen lost the primary to Weiner by 195 votes.[10] Weiner also won the November election, widely considered a formality with no opposition in the heavily Democratic district.

The next year, Cohen was selected as the state chairwoman of the National Women's Political Caucus.[11] She ran again for the City Council's 27th District against Howard L. Lasher in 1997,[12] but lost in the three-way Democratic primary.

State AssemblyEdit

In 1998, Cohen ran for the New York State Assembly's 46th district in the special election to succeed outgoing assemblyman Jules Polonetsky, with the nomination of the Democratic, Independence and Liberal parties[13] and she won against Joseph A. Kovac, a nominee of the Republican and Conservative parties. She served as an assemblywoman until she returned to private law practice in 2006. Initially a member of the Standing Committee on Insurance, she served from 2005[14] to 2006 as chairwoman of the Assembly Commission on Science and Technology[15] during her time in office.

Personal lifeEdit

Cohen is a 1964 graduate of Brooklyn College.[16] She later pursued a law degree from the New York Law School after her children grew up, gaining it in 1987. She then became a lawyer for District Council 37. She is married to Steven, a former principal of P.S. X012 Lewis and Clark School, and has three children, Gene Robert (b. 1966), Deborah and Ronald (b. 1964). Gene was a director of Graphnet in Teaneck, N.J., and a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology;[17] Ronald is an assistant professor of chemistry, geology and geophysics at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated from Wesleyan University.[18]


  1. ^ U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 & 2 (Provo, UT: Operations, Inc.), 2010.
  2. ^ "Distinguished CUNY Alumnae / Women 's Leadership in America History". Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  3. ^ Lubasch, Arnold H. (September 3, 1989). "34 Incumbents on Council Running, Two-Thirds Unopposed in Primaries". New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  4. ^ Finder, Alan (November 8, 1989). "The 1989 Elections – Charter – Overhaul of New York City Charter Is Approved, Polls Show". New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Candidates Crowd the Field in Primary for Council". New York Times. November 9, 1991. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  6. ^ Gwen Ifill (August 21, 1991). "Liberal Coalition Pushes Goals in Council Races". New York Times.
  7. ^ Steve Kornacki (June 10, 2011). "The woman Anthony Weiner smeared speaks out". Salon. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011.
  8. ^ Kevin Sack (September 12, 1991). "Campaign Trail; A Primary-Eve Dance: The Candidate Dodge". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Topics of The Times – Smears and Fears". The New York Times. September 15, 1991.
  10. ^ Steve Kornacki (June 7, 2011). "The dirty trick that launched Anthony Weiner's career". Salon.
  11. ^ Robert D. McFadden (October 27, 1992). "Dinkins Appointee Withdraws Over Allegation of Harrassment [sic]". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Jonathan P. Hicks (August 28, 1997). "Brooklyn Councilman, a Political Fixture, Faces Fight in Primary". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Cohen, Adele". Our Campaigns.
  14. ^ "Women and Technology In The 21st Century - A Report on the Assembly Roundtables on Women and Technology". Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  15. ^ "2005 Update from the Legislative Commission on Science and Technology". 2005-03-11. Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  16. ^ "Distinguished CUNY Alumnae / Women's Leadership in American History". Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  17. ^ "Ms. Stempel Wed To G. R. Cohen". The New York Times. September 15, 1991.
  18. ^ "Weddings – Kristie Boering, Ronald Cohen". The New York Times. January 18, 1998.
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Jules Polonetsky
New York State Assembly, 46th District
Succeeded by
Alec Brook-Krasny