Jeff Cohen


Jeff Cohen is a proud New Orleans native who now calls New England home. Or at least his second home.

He started in newspapers in 2001 and joined WNPR in 2010, where he is a reporter and an occasional fill-in host for All Things Considered.

In addition to covering state and Hartford city politics, Jeff covered the December 2012 Newtown shootings and the stories that followed.  Much of that work was featured on NPR.  Also in 2012, Jeff was selected by NPR and Kaiser Health News for their joint Health Care In The States project. That work resulted in several national stories, including ones on the Affordable Care Act and medical education.

Jeff was also selected by the Tow Foundation and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice as a fellow in their 2012 juvenile justice reporting project.

Before working at WNPR, Jeff worked as the city reporter for The Hartford Courant.  While at the Courant, he won a National Headliner Award for a Northeast Magazine story about the ostracized widow of the state's first casualty in Iraq; wrote about his post-Katrina, flooded out home in New Orleans; and was part of a team of reporters that broke the stories of alleged corruption at Hartford City Hall that led to the arrest of former Mayor Eddie A. Perez. 

He also worked at the Meriden Record-Journal and as a freelancer for The New York Times.

Jeff lives in Middletown with his wife, cats, and two trouble-making kids. Thanks to the kids, he's now writing children's books. The first, Eva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut Ever!, came out in June 2014.  The second, Eva and Sadie and the Best Classroom Ever!, comes out in June 2015.  He likes to make bread and wine.

Ways to Connect

Hilda Muñoz / City of Hartford

Hartford residents paid close attention to last week’s parking ban in the city, making it relatively easy for snow plows to do their work. But that’s not the case this time around. 

The city’s parking ban went into effect on Sunday night at 11:00 pm. Deputy Chief Brian Foley was all over Twitter reminding people to move their cars.

But it didn’t really work.

The Connecticut Mirror

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is running for his second full term this year, and a lot of people are looking to unseat him. One is Luke Bronin, the governor's former legal counsel; another is attorney John Gale; and a third is city Councilman Joel Cruz.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Republican legislative leaders held a press conference Thursday to call for changes in the state’s campaign finance laws, though leading Democrats said talking to them first might have been a better strategy. 

Joined by rank and file legislators, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said state Democrats have consistently worked to undermine and erode the clean elections laws they worked to pass in 2005 after the conviction of former Governor John Rowland.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The governor has declared a state of emergency. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has declared a snow emergency. City schools let out at noon, and most city employees were dismissed then, too. There's a parking ban in effect. Even Winterfest at Bushnell Park is closing early.

But Monday night's Hartford city council meeting must go on. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Oz Griebel runs the MetroHartford Alliance and ran for governor in 2010. Now, he's considering a run for Hartford's city council. 

"I am considering a run, but considering is the operative word," Griebel said.

Vox Efx / Creative Commons

As Hartford's City Council is seeking to remove all three of its registrars because of a disastrous Election Day 2014, at least one of them -- Democrat Olga Vazquez -- is planning a strong defense.

"She does not disagree with the fact that there were some serious snafus," said Leon Rosenblatt, Vazquez's attorney. "But the registrars weren't the cause of it. And the report that was written is very one-sided and incomplete." 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Following a disastrous Election Day 2014 in which voters at various city polling places were denied the right to vote, the city council is beginning the process of removing all three registrars of voters.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

An investigation into election day failures in Hartford shows that the city turned people way from the polls, lost track of 70 absentee ballots, and failed to agree on an accurate vote tally.  Now that the problem has been identified, leaders on the city council say they're working on a fix.  

Election day last November began badly in Hartford. Some residents couldn't cast their ballots because the polls weren't open, and the polls weren't open because the voter lists weren't in place. 

A report drafted by lawyers working for the city council say a bunch of factors caused the mess: the city's registrars failed to give the state important voter lists in time, failed to open polling places in time, and failed to resolve discrepancies in vote tallies after the fact.

Luke Bronin

Luke Bronin, former legal counsel to Governor Dannel Malloy, is officially entering the race for mayor of the city of Hartford

Bronin said he's planning to file his paperwork with the city on Wednesday.

In a letter to residents posted on his website, Bronin said the city has its strengths: cultural diversity and creativity, the support of the governor, and new state-supported development projects. 

Tony Webster / Creative Commons

Homicides and shootings are at a four-year low in the city of Hartford, and overall violent crimes are down since last year, too, according to 2014 crime statistics released Monday. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has said he’s running for a second term in office.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The city of Hartford is planning to change the way it finances its new minor league baseball stadium, a move that officials say will save taxpayers millions. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling for a federal review of electric rate hikes by CL&P and other providers nationwide.

A fundraising effort to buy 1,000 acres of shoreline land is nearly complete.  The land is called The Preserve, and it spreads across Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook.  

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Kevin Counihan began 2014 as the head of Connecticut's health care marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. Now, he's the head of the entire federal Obamacare effort. WNPR checked in with him recently.


This is the second year of open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act. The state said it has nearly exceeded its goals. 

State of Connecticut

An injured teacher and the families of nine others who were killed in Newtown in 2012 are planning to file suit against the gun industry. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been two years since a gunman killed his mother at home and then opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 first-graders, six educators, and himself.

But experts are still hashing out just how parents and educators should handle children like Adam Lanza. 

Mark Wragg/iStock / Thinkstock

According to a new Yale study, addiction is a chronic disease that is treated like an acute illness. But what if we treated it differently, with longer-term goals? 

David Panagore

The effort to turn Hartford's historic Colt gun factory into a national park is continuing. 

A century and a half ago, the Colt complex was where Sam and Elizabeth Colt made the revolver. Now, it's a fundamental part of the country's industrial history, and supporters want to turn it and some of the surrounding neighborhood into a national park.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

Hartford's mayoral election is a year away, and while Mayor Pedro Segarra hasn't yet said whether he'll run, others are considering a run.

City of Hartford

The real estate investor who owns land the city wants to take for its $350 million baseball stadium development project said the city's $1.9 million offer is "wholly inadequate."

City of Hartford

If you like process, you'll love this story.

Earlier this week, we reported that the city of Hartford's Planning and Zoning Commission had to do a do-over and re-vote on part of the $350 million plan to build a baseball stadium and related development Why? Because it didn't follow state law and give proper notice on an important stadium zoning vote in late October. So, it's voting again.

Now, a second city board, the Hartford Redevelopment Agency, has to re-vote, too. 

Lenny Baker / Creative Commons

It's time for a do-over.

The city of Hartford will hold a second meeting on zoning changes related to its $350 million baseball stadium development, because its first meeting did not meet state public notice requirements. 

City of Hartford

The New Britain Rock Cats want to play baseball in Hartford in April 2016, so when it comes to building their new stadium, every day matters. Now a new lawsuit says the city, in its haste, didn’t follow the law

Jenson Lee / Creative Commons

The holidays can be happy, but they can also be a dangerous. Safe driving advocates are renewing their campaigns to separate drinking from driving. 

The Connecticut Mirror

The second round of open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act is underway. State officials say they've enrolled nearly 12,000 people in health insurance in the sign-up period's first week. 

Mike Priggins and Kyle Reyes /

Earl O'Garro, the troubled insurance agent who was the target of a federal grand jury that brought an unwelcome spotlight on Hartford City Hall last year, was charged Friday in federal court with one count of wire fraud. He pleaded not guilty.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Young human brains are delicate, developing things. A panel last week in Middletown focused on how the brain can be affected by drugs, alcohol, and technology.

Have a question about the Affordable Care Act? Meet Tina.