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Curious About Turkish-Born Grandfather

Congressman Steve Cohen has been looking for an answer for a long time. Up to now he hasn’t found the answer yet. His mother’s birth certificate states that his grandfather was born in Turkey. Though he contacted the Turkish consulate in Houston, he hasn’t been able to find out more information. His mother was born in 1915 and Mr. Cohen doesn’t even have any idea which city his grandfather was born in but he is still searching... 
Congressman Steve Cohen is the first Jewish Congressman from Tennessee.  In his district, he is known as the father of the lottery, and he is the only Caucasian who represents a majority-minority district. Congressman Steve Cohen won his seat in the 60 percent black district as the only white candidate in a crowded primary field in the 2006 election. He has been in politics since 1976 and he is now completing his first term in Congress.
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Congressman Steve Cohen is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives representing Tennessee's 9th district. (Photo: Necdet Kosedag)

Cohen is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives representing Tennessee's 9th district. Prior to his election to the House in November 2006, Cohen was a Tennessee State Senator from Memphis. As a member of the Turkish Caucus, Steve Cohen answered TURKOFAMERICA’s questions.

You are the first Jewish Congressman from Tennessee and 60 percent of your district is Afro-American. How did you do it?
I am the only Caucasian who represents a majority-minority district. There are Congresspeople who represent districts with a majority-minority but it’s a collection of minorities. For instance, Congressman Robert Brady (D, PA) is one of the few whites representing a majority-minority district but when you add together Hispanics and Afro-Americans, the combination mix adds up to eh majority. My position is unique. I have had a long career in politics since 1976 and very long relations with African American people, politicians, and issues. It’s been a extra hurdle to overcome, being racially different, but as one Afro-American woman told me, they had a difficulty to vote for me but they did because I was the best candidate. Once they got over it, when they saw my work, my voting record was good, they trusted me and they believed me. Re-election will be a difficult election but I am comfortable about winning the next election as well.     

Does your district lean Democrats?
Yes but I have a primary opponent.  Main thing, I don’t think it will be an issue concerning differences on issues, (imagine she would be pro-Armenian now) but other than that, I suspect how many people would be more comfortable with a person of their own race representing them. I don’t think the majority of Afro-Americans will let that factor stop them.

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