Princeton Councilman David Cohen has formally announced that he will seek a second term on the Princeton Council. He is completing the third year of a three-year term on the all-Democrat Council this year.
Each year, two seats for regular terms are voted on for the six-member council. So far, two other candidates have announced they will run in the Democratic primary — incumbent Leticia Fraga and newcomer Dina Shaw.
Cohen said he has focused on four areas of during his first council term. He said he has worked to improve land-use policies to encourage smart growth and more sustainable development, and has been an advocate for seniors through council liaison work with the Princeton Senior Resource Center and through the town’s affordable housing negotiations. Cohen said he has also worked to ensure emergency preparedness through the municipal Neighborhood Buddy Initiative and participation in the PEW grant program to develop the town’s new Princeton Prepares registry for vulnerable populations. He said he has also worked “to protect what is precious in our community” through his liaison role on the Princeton Historic Preservation Commission, and by actively supporting the work of Friends of Princeton Open Space and Friends of Herrontown Woods.
Cohen is an architect and said his work has prepared him “in a way few other public servants can match, to grapple with the challenges of planning for positive growth.” He says that embracing physical change is the only way to preserve what is truly special about Princeton as an inclusive, diverse, economically dynamic character as a community. “Not only is Smart Growth possible: we have been doing it for the past 30 years,” Cohen said.
He said he is running again for a couple of reasons. He said that many of the issues that face the town going forward are the issues where he has the most to offer as a candidate. He said those issues include implementing the town’s climate action plan, updating the municipal master plan, searching for ways to make buildings more sustainable, and seeking to support the creation of more renewable energy in and by the town.
Cohen served as the council liaison to the steering committee for the town’s climate action plan and said he has been working on several initiatives to implement the recommendations in the plan, including community solar and renewal energy aggregation. He said there is still much to be done and he wants to see the job through, “coaxing Princeton toward a more sustainable, livable version of itself, so we can be truly proud of the future we leave to our children and grandchildren.”
He also said he decided to run again because he believes that some continuity in government is essential for smooth functioning. “Princeton has had an enormous turnover on Council in the last few years, going from a body with over 60 cumulative years of experience to one with only six cumulative years of experience at present. There is an enormous amount of information to be mastered if one is to serve effectively,” Cohen said, adding that he feels he is just beginning to get a handle on how best to work collaboratively with staff and fellow elected officials to get things done. “It would be a shame to waste that hard-earned experience, and a disservice to the town to squander it by serving a single term,” he said.