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May 24, 1985 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-05-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



TI-}k pERgIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, May 24, 1985

Advertising in The Jewish News Gets Results
Place Your Ad Today. Call 354-6060

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ing that tenure, Cohan was re-
ferred to as the brains behind
his boss, Frank Kelley.
Former Michigan Democratic
Party chairman Zolton Fe-
rency once quipped: "Wouldn't
it be too bad if something hap-
pened to Leon Cohan and
Frank Kelley became attorney
general." But Cohan is dip-
lomatic about such talk, deny-
ing that he had undue influ-
ence.
Although he was not
known widely to the public,
Cohan was one of Michigan's
best known and highly re-
garded public officials to the
state politicians and press.
The Detroit Free Press de-
scribed him in 1972 as "an as-
tute lawyer, an intellectual, a
master of good humor, a world
traveler and an expert second
to none in political public rela-
tions."
Cohan has been involved
in politics since the age of 20,
when he successfully or-
ganized a group to overthrow
the old 15th District's Young
Democratic Club and was
elected president. But that's
the last elected political office
he held. "I've always loved
politics and I've known many
politicians — I hired Jim
Blanchard and Carl Levin
worked for me — but I never
wanted to run for office,"
Cohan says. "I felt the sacrifice
of family life and privacy was
too great. I've been lucky in
that I've enjoyed positions of
influence where I could affect
important decisions without
having to give up my personal
life."
In 1973, Cohan accepted
an offer to become vice
president of legal affairs at
Detroit Edison. He was the
first Jew to be hired among the
40 officers of the company.
One of his mandates was to
help bring Detroit Edison
"into the real world," and to
change its outlook from one of
conservativism to a more pro-
gressive approach. He is proud
that today there are seven or
eight Jewish officers as well as

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"I've enjoyed
positions of influence
where I could affect
important decisions
without having to
give up my personal
life."

and travel. They visit Europe
several times a year and have
been to Israel, most notably
with Cohan's parents some
years ago.
Cohan's mother, Lillian,
90, lives in Oak Park. His
father, Maurice, whom he
speaks of often and with great
warmth, died two years ago at
the age of 90. One of the rea-
sons Cohan accepted the
presidency of the Council, he
says, is because his father
would have wanted him to.
"He taught me a sense of obli-
gation to the Jewish commu-
nity."
Cohan is well aware that
it is often difficult to achieve
consensus in a Jewish Com-
munity Council that repre-
sents so many diverse organ-
izations. But he says that the
group's diversity is a strength,
not a weakness. "We have to
take risks at times," he says.
"We can't be bland."
There's little chance that
Leon Cohan's tenure as
president of the Council will
be a bland one.



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The RESORT

• Cocktail party
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classes, dinner dancing
& shows

several women and blacks, in-
dicating the company's shift
into reality, he says.
Six years ago Cohan was
elected Senior Vice President
and General Counsel of De-
troit Edison, one of the top four
positions. He has general re-
sponsibility for all legal affairs
of the corporation. In addition,
the company's community and
governmental affairs depart-
ment and the corporate secre-
tary's office report to him.
Cohan and his wife share
a passion for the arts, music






1

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MANAGER

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