Rookie Philly legislator says long-timer is losing it

Rep. Mark Cohen of Philadelphia
Rep. Mark Cohen of Philadelphia
Posted: February 27, 2014

A POLITICAL rift, generational and ideological, between two Philadelphia legislators turned personal yesterday when rookie state Rep. Brian Sims questioned whether 40-year-veteran state Rep. Mark Cohen has the "faculties to do this job anymore."

In a Facebook post, Sims, 35, said that Cohen, 64, is well-known in the state Capitol for being "absent-minded and lost" and often is missing or late for important legislative committee hearings.

"Virtually every single person in the Capitol has a story about Mark being lost in a bathroom or arguing with the plants or with the pictures on the wall," Sims wrote. "Much more importantly, he's simply not showing up to the one committee he serves on and chairs, across from [state Rep.] Daryl Metcalfe!"

Cohen is the Democratic chairman of the State Government Committee. Metcalfe, a Republican from Butler County, is the committee's majority chairman.

Cohen yesterday described his physical and mental health as "excellent." Cohen added that he is "on occasion" late for meetings like many people in Harrisburg.

"My sense is Sims is suffering a meltdown," Cohen said. "The implication that I'm suffering from dementia is bizarre and absurd."

Sims, seeking a second two-year term from Center City's 182nd District, has endorsed Democrat Jared Solomon's challenge to Cohen in the 202nd District, which stretches from Wissinoming through lower Northeast Philly to the Montgomery County line.

Sims, who made his Facebook comments in a post about a fundraiser for Solomon, has offended some Democrats in Harrisburg by backing challengers to his party's incumbents. Sims defeated then-state Rep. Babette Josephs in 2012 after serving as her campaign treasurer in 2010.

Sims promised to work across the aisle with Republicans, a more moderate approach than Cohen and Josephs are known for. Josephs, who served 14 terms in the state House, last week said she is challenging Sims in the May 20 Democratic primary.

Cohen, who has served in the state House since 1974, went 28 years without a challenger on the ballot. He won a 20th term in 2012 after being challenged in that year's primary election.


On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout.com

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