This month the DNA was privileged to hear from Congressman Steve Cohen at The Arcade Restaurant. "There is no more vigorous supporter or fighter for Memphis than Congressman Cohen," said DNA President Mickell Lowery in his introductory remarks.
Congressman Cohen is finishing up his 10th year representing Tennessee in the US House of Representatives. He is on the ballot for re-election on November 8.
A fourth-generation Memphian, Cohen says "Downtown has been the center of my life." He spoke of his grandfather who operated a curbside news stand for 52 years in front of what is now the Residence Inn downtown.
"This is the center where people come together - black and white, young and old. Downtown is so important. Downtown is it. Downtown is for everybody," said Cohen to a crowd of nodding DNA-ers.
Cohen discussed the exciting opening of Big River Crossing this month, and what it took to secure federal funding for the multi-modal, Main to Main project. "Now it's a bridge for the 21st century. Best view of the river. Best view of the city. Views that no one but a locomotive engineer has seen in 70 years."
Cohen is optimistic about the continued progress of Downtown. He attributes much of that progress to big thinkers like Fred Smith, Kemmons Wilson, Sam Phillips, Abe Plough, and Henry Turley. "Mud Island was a bunch of trees and vermin. No one did anything over there until Henry had the idea of making it like Seaside resort."
He mentioned other priorities and issues he's supported - restoring the historic Clayburn temple, developing the Foote Homes, preserving the greensward and MidSouth Coliseum, and supporting the city council ordinance to lessen punishment for marijuana.
Cohen reiterated his commitment to continuing to fight for Memphis and for Downtown. "Downtown is happening, there are so many good things…Keep goin' with Cohen!"