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About Brian Cohn: ‘Why I am running’

The Brian and Patty Cohn family of Lakeville, Minnesota.
Three generations of Cohns.
Brian Cohn's uncle, Rep. Abner Mikva, raises hands with President Jimmy Carter in this 1977 rally. Later in life Mikva was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

Hello, I’m Brian Cohn and I’m excited to be running to represent the people of district 57B in the state house. My wife and I have been residents of Lakeville for 10 years. We have four adult children who were raised in Northfield and one granddaughter. I’ve had two volunteer passions for many years – Masters Swimming and professional organizations supporting excellence in Product Development. I’ve held board positions in both for more than 20 years. When I’m not working or in the pool you may find me out on my bicycle or photographing nature (especially waterfalls and flowers) at one of our many local parks.

When I think about why I’m running, I keep coming back to my cultural heritage principle of Tikkum Olan – meaning to leave the world a better place than we found it. My parents demonstrated this in my childhood through their volunteer efforts with our schools, by managing the finances of our sports clubs, and by coaching our youth sports. Our parents also taught us the importance of giving back by requiring that a portion of our allowance every week be given to charity. Beyond our childhoods, they continued to demonstrate the importance of contributing when my mother managed the finances of a symphony orchestra in Chicago that brought classical music beyond Orchestra Hall and my father volunteered for a crisis line starting in the 1970s and taught continuing legal education classes for more than 20 years.

I had additional inspiration from my uncle who served in the Illinois legislature and in congress. He demonstrated that even new legislators can make a difference through his very first bill he introduced in the legislature in the mid 1950s that passed in the house to prohibit racial and other forms of housing discrimination.

I’ve continued that tradition by being on the board, including a stint as chair, for Minnesota Masters Swimming and roles as Communications VP, Operations VP, and Marketing VP for the local chapters of the Product Development and Management Association and the Project Management Institute.

Looking forward, I see that the challenges of the 21st century have given our now adult children much more stress, fewer opportunities to find partners, and less fulfilling vocations than I’ve enjoyed. Then, the pandemic hit and disrupted my granddaughter’s education.

I am running to make mental health services as accessible as medical care, reduce gun violence, address climate change, fund our tremendous public education system, enhance the infrastructure that makes Minnesota a great place to be in business, and provide safety net services for those who are less prosperous.