Cohen faces Republican challenger Michael Roemmelt, president of the Middle Village Property Owners Association, in the general election Nov. 7. Roemmelt, owner of Michael's Funeral Home in Middle Village, has generated about $13,000 for his campaign war chest, according to filings with the state Board of Elections. Roemmelt reported spending $11,894 in 2000 for his campaign.
Cohen's heaviest campaign activity came between July 1999 and July 2000, when he received more than $28,000 in campaign contributions and spent a little under $18,000 in seeking his second term. Overall he has spent $24,386 since January 1999, the records revealed.
"We do not take money from tobacco or real estate developers and landlords," said Cohen's treasurer, Howard Pollack. He said Cohen campaigned heavily on the stance that he would opposed large-scale real estate developers from changing the character of neighborhoods in the district in 1998.
A former safety inspector for the New York City Transit Authority, Cohen, a Democratic district leader for 15 years, did accept donations from a number of labor unions representing bridge and tunnel workers, subway surface supervisors, and transportation workers.
The New York Heating Oil Association, the Albany-based Independent Power Producers, Orion Power Holdings Inc., and political action committees for Keyspan Energy and other heating oil and energy interests were contributors to Cohen's campaign, giving donations ranging from $50 to $250.
Cohen sits on the Energy Committee in the state Assembly. He also is a member of the committees on agriculture; corporations, authorities and commissions; housing; and election law.
Pollack said the assemblyman holds about two fund-raisers a year. One was scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Portofino's restaurant in Forest Hills.
Roemmelt counts among his financial supporters his own funeral home, as well as a number of businesses in Middle Village and Ridgewood. The 28th Assembly District stretches from Forest Hills and Rego Park into Glendale and Middle Village.
Records indicated Cohen has supported a number of community organizations with donations ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars, including the Middle Village Adult Center, the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee, the Community Advocacy Center in Forest Hills, and the Queens County Democratic Organization.
Pollack said Cohen used $1,000 of his state discretionary funds last year to help fund his challenger's civic group, the Middle Village Property Owners Association.
Roemmelt reported as his expenditures: the costs of renting a campaign office, heating and telephone bills, and campaign publicity mailings.
©2000 Community News Group
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