Cohen draws young challenger


Andrew Cohen may have found some election competition after all.

Judah Powers is just 20 years old, yet he’s collecting signatures right now to earn him a spot on the ballot for city council — as a Republican.

He’s going after Cohen, who was first elected to the District 11 seat in 2014. 

If elected, Powers would join a minority party in the city council that holds just three of 51 seats, and hasn’t been under Republican control since the Nixon era. He’d also try to do something many might find impossible — be elected as a Republican in this part of the Bronx. 

On the fundraising website CrowdPAC, Powers said the current city council has “been oppressing the people of this city for years and years and years” and wanted to give constituents a choice between “the same old story and a fresh new start.”

He spoke to a small group of Republicans on Monday at the American Legion on Corlear Avenue who had gathered to meet with GOP mayoral candidate Paul Massey. There, Powers claimed the city council has “smothered the flames of liberty,” and lambasted the group for “making decision after decision after decision on behalf of the people in New York that we should be making ourselves.”

That included, he said, how people spend their money in the city, and the size of their drinks. Powers, of course, is referring to the Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule originally championed by Republican-turned-independent mayor Michael Bloomberg, and later supported by current Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio. The state court of appeals, however, gutted the law in 2014, saying the city’s health board didn’t have the authority to enforce such a law.

If Powers makes it to the ballot, he’ll have his work cut out for him. Cohen already has raised $28,100 despite not drawing a bonafide opponent. In his first run at office in 2013, Cohen raised more than $200,000, while his primary opponent Cliff Stanton pulled in $156,000. 

The city election primary is set for Sept. 12, with the general election taking place Nov. 7.

“Politics in this city is a two-way street,” Powers said, adding that the Democrats’ “chokehold on our government is over.”

Are we finally dumping oil?

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel is making another attempt to pass the Open Fuel Act, a bill that would require 80 percent of cars manufactured in the country to run on non-petroleum fuels by 2021.

Engel, a Democrat who represents New York’s 16th District that includes parts of Riverdale, is designed to promote a full array of existing technologies to power cars, according to a release. 

That includes fuel cell, electric drive, flex fuel, natural gas, hydrogen and more.

Engel had introduced similar legislation in 2011 with Illinois Republican John Shimkus, with other unsuccessful attempts to pass the bill in later years. 

This time around, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen joins Engel. She’s a Florida Republican who represents an area that includes Miami and Coral Gables.

“Cutting costs for consumers, creating jobs, strengthening national security and improving the air we breathe,” Engel said.