Paying Tribute to Veterans on Veterans Day
This week, I held my 10th annual Veterans Day event and paid my respects to the residents of Shelby County killed in World War I on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended that conflict. I also attended an event honoring the Reverend James M. Lawson Jr., noted that open enrollment for 2019 insurance policies with HealthCare.gov is under way, called attention to the need to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in our elections, welcomed newly elected freshmen members of the 116th Congress to Washington for their orientation, celebrated the grand opening of the River Garden Park, remembered Karim Sameh Azab, prepared to hold an evening “Congress On Your Corner” event, offered 2019 Capitol Historical Society calendars, and highlighted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice on the use of antibiotics. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebookto see more updates as they happen.
Paying Tribute to Veterans on Veterans Day
Honoring the Reverend James M. Lawson Jr.
Flagging Open Enrollment Now Available at HealthCare.gov
Working to Protect the Mueller Investigation
Welcoming the Freshman Class of the 116th Congress
Celebrating Grand Opening of the River Garden Park
Remembering "A Gentle Giant" -- Karim Sameh Azab
Holding My Next “Congress On Your Corner”
Offering U.S. Capitol Historical Society Calendars
Signing Up for “Congress On Your Corner” and this e-Newsletter
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week
On Monday, I commemorated Veterans Day with my 10th annual event for my constituents who have served our country in uniform. I spoke about veterans legislation I support, including the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act and the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act. I also welcomed Memphis VA Medical Center Director David Dunning, Shelby County Veterans Court Judge Bill Anderson, Naval Support Activity Mid-South Commander Michael Mosi and Memphis Area Legal Services Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program manager Chassia Taylor. Gwendolyn Turner gave a rousing rendition of our national anthem, Reverend James Kendrick offered a prayer and the Trezevant High School JROTC Color Guard presented colors. On Sunday, I visited the Doughboy Statue in Overton Park to recognize the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the 231 soldiers from Shelby County who lost their lives in that conflict.
On Wednesday, I joined my colleagues in honoring the Reverend James M. Lawson Jr., the Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “the leading theorist and strategist” of non-violence, by cosponsoring legislation to award him the Congressional Gold Medal. He objected to the Korean War on moral grounds and was sentenced to two years in prison for his resistance. Subsequently, he was a missionary to India where he studied the principles of non-violent resistance put forth by Gandhi. Reverend Lawson was pastor of the Centenary United Methodist Church in Memphis and invited Dr. King to Memphis during the 1968 Sanitation Workers strike. In my remarks at the Capitol Hill event honoring Reverend Lawson and highlighting the Congressional Gold Medal legislation, I said the Civil Rights Movement was our country’s second Civil War and that the Reverend Lawson was as much a general as Grant or Sherman. I also recalled Reverend Lawson’s work with John T. Fisher to keep Memphis peaceful after Dr. King’s assassination, and I praised Lawson as a wise man from whom young people can continue to learn a lot. The Reverend Lawson was recently honored by Vanderbilt University, which kicked him out as a student for his Nashville lunch counter sit-ins, and where he later taught, along with Perry Wallace, the basketball great who integrated the Southeastern Conference. Other speakers at Wednesday’s event included the NAACP’s Hilary Shelton, AFSCME organizer Bill Lucy, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond, House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, and Reverend Lawson himself, now 90, who spoke of the early stirrings of his thirst for justice and his ongoing quest.
Open enrollment for 2019 HealthCare.gov insurance plans is now under way. This year, open enrollment runs only through December 15. I will be making use of every possible means to make my constituents aware that the time available to sign up has been limited again this year compared to the enrollment periods during the Obama Administration -- six weeks shorter than it was in 2016. This week, I recorded a public service announcement for local radio to encourage signing up.For more information on signing up for health care, see Healthcare.gov.
Congressman Cohen addresses a crowd gathered November 10 in Civic Center Plaza downtown to call for protecting the Special Counsel’s investigation of Russian interference.
The President fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and installed Matthew Whitaker, rather than the Deputy Attorney General as is appropriate, as Acting Attorney General. Because Whitaker has not been confirmed by the Senate, a number of legal scholars have questioned the legality and constitutionality of his occupying the office. Additionally, there are concerns about Whitaker regarding statements he has made about the Muller investigation as well as previous business dealings, specifically his prior involvement with World Patent Marketing which, in 2017, was fined $26 million and closed down by federal regulators for deceiving consumers. It is now more important than ever for Congress to protect Mueller’s probe by passing the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act (H.R. 5476) that I have cosponsored. We are watching a slow-motion Saturday Night Massacre and are at the cusp of a Constitutional crisis as other firings appear possible. The American people deserve the truth. Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation must be allowed to continue without political interference.
When Congress convenes for the first time on January 3, 2019, a projected 100 new freshmen will fill the House chamber, a higher than usual number of new members. The diversity of the class is encouraging, with more women, more African Americans, more Latino/as and more veterans than in previous years (we are also doubling the number of Native Americans). I’ve spent this week getting acquainted with some of my new colleagues who were in Washington becoming oriented to their new roles. I was especially pleased to meet with Congresswoman-elect Angie Craig of Minnesota, a University of Memphis graduate and former reporter for The Commercial Appeal. I gave her a copy of the the feature story about her in The Commercial Appeal and she said she was particularly happy it had been written by her old friend and colleague, John Beifuss. I look forward to working with the new class next year.
At the dedication, left to right -- J.R. “Pitt” Hyde III, Carol Coletta, Mayor Jim Strickland, Barbara Hyde, Congressman Cohen and Henry Turley.
Last Friday, I attended the grand opening of the River Garden Park at Riverside and Jefferson, part of the $70 million Memphis Riverfront Concept that is transforming our city’s western edge. The Memphis Riverfront Parks Partnership, which replaced the Riverfront Development Corporation, is overseeing the redesign of the waterfront, including major work on Tom Lee Park slated for next year. Memphis is fortunate to benefit by a $5.2 million contribution to the beautification effort from the Hyde Family Foundation. Such gifts of philanthropy are much appreciated and much needed. Many have done much for our city but the Hydes have been in the forefront for years. I’m proud to have played a part in the transformation of our riverfront by working to secure U.S. Department of Transportation funding for Big River Crossing, the longest pedestrian/bicycle trail over the Mississippi River on the Harahan Bridge, which opened in October 2016.
As a Tiger basketball fan since childhood, I was saddened to learn of the death of University of Memphis basketball player Karim Sameh Azab from leukemia on Thursday. Our office’s staffers Linda Archer, Betsy Dudley and Beanie Self were called upon by the university to arrange for the Egyptian native’s visa so that he could play in Memphis. They later worked to get visas for his parents so they could be with him in his last days. I recall mentioning Karim to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when I was in Egypt. Karim will be remembered as a kind and gentle giant and I’m sure the team will dedicate the remainder of the season to his memory.
My Memphis staff and I will hold an evening “Congress On Your Corner” for those who can’t make our daytime events, on Monday, November 26, at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. As your representative in Congress, part of my job is making sure your concerns and issues with federal agencies and federal benefits are dealt with fairly and expeditiously. We can help with Social Security, Medicare, veterans benefits and military service issues, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and services, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) home loans, federal grant applications, visas and passports, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues and more.
My office will soon have a limited number of 2019 U.S. Capitol Historical Society calendars available. If you would like to receive a calendar, please complete this form on my website. Due to the rules of the House, I can mail calendars only to residents of Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District. Please feel free to share this email with other residents of the 9th District who may be interested in receiving one but who do not receive my e-Newsletter.
I enjoy meeting regularly with constituents in the district and helping get answers for them to questions about dealing with federal agencies. If you are interested in attending one of my “Congress on Your Corner” events, you can sign up here to receive notification as soon as the next event is scheduled.
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Each week, I share a health tip in the hope of promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents of the 9th Congressional District. As always, it is best to check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.
This week is Antibiotic Awareness Week which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and partnering organizations observe to improve antibiotic prescribing practices and inform the public of the threat of antibiotic resistance due to overuse. The CDC estimates that 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in an outpatient setting are unnecessary. Overuse of prescribed antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance – the ability of bacteria to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. More than 23,000 people die every year as a result of having infections resistant to antibiotics. Read more about the proper use of antibiotics here.
“At the heart of racism is the idea that a man is not a man.” -- The Reverend James M. Lawson Jr., 1968.
“Nonviolence in many ways was an effort to help people see that they were of infinite worth and dignity. That their very life in fact was a center of the life of the universe, that the full power of what life is all about is located in every single human being. And no matter how tortuous that person's life is, they still have certain power if they're willing to exercise it and cultivate it and use it. And it may be risky, but it can be done. So the whole notion of nonviolence, philosophically, is that you are a person of infinite worth and as such you can exercise influence all around you. – The Reverend James M. Lawson, December 2, 1985, interview for Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years (1954-1965).
As always, I remain,
Member of Congress