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Harry Cohen - Tampa City Council

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National Muslim advocacy group backs Harry Cohen for Tampa Mayor

Emgage group represents 12,000 Tampa Muslim-American voters.

A national anti-discrimination, Muslim rights advocacy group is backing Harry Cohen for Tampa Mayor

Cohen announced in a statement Wednesday that Emgage PAC chose him because “his two terms on City Council give him the right tools and experiences needed to lead Tampa.”

Emgage had interviewed all candidates in the race to gauge their ability to promote inclusivity and tolerance in Tampa.

“This election has a number of qualified candidates who are capable of leading the City of Tampa. However, Emgage PAC strongly believes Harry Cohen is the best choice,” Emgage PAC Florida Chairman Yasir Biloo said. “Between now and Election Day, Emgage PAC is going to mobilize Muslim-American voters across the city to help elect Harry Cohen as the next Mayor of Tampa.”

The group represents 12,000 Tampa voters. It has some buying power behind it — they spent about $100,000 in the 2018 election cycle — and mobilize grassroots efforts to help candidates the group is supporting win elections.

Emgage applauded Cohen’s commitment to diversity and belief that diverse communities build a stronger Tampa. They also based their decision on Cohen’s proposed policies on climate change, transportation and affordable housing, noting that those issues are at the core of what needs to be addressed in Tampa as more people move to the region.

“This endorsement is very important to me because it demonstrates that I will get things done for all of Tampa’s citizens. As Mayor, I will be committed to making sure that Tampa’s Muslim-Americans have a seat at the table and will work with organizations like Emgage to build a better Tampa for everyone,” Cohen said.

Emgage also supported incumbent Mayor Bob Buckhorn when he was first elected in 2011.

While the group is bipartisan, expenditure records show it predominantly donates to Democrats. They support local, state and federal candidates who have a track record of upholding civil rights, welcoming diversity and protecting religious freedom, according to the Emgage website.

They produce candidate profiles and endorsement cards to distribute in local communities to help voters learn about office-seekers it supports.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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