Jeff Cohen

Reporter

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, published by HarperCollins Children's Books, comes out in early 2014.  He likes to make bread and wine.

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Housing
2:17 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

A New Development for Aging Public Housing in Hartford

Dwayne Patterson stands outside his apartment building at Bowles Park in Hartford.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

It's been more than a half century since the state built two big public housing developments in Hartford -- nestled in neighborhoods that now include middle-class housing, the University of Hartford, and expensive single family homes. The housing developments are called Westbrook Village and Bowles Park. Over time, the units have grown too old and expensive to repair.

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Affordable Care Act
2:05 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Obama Pushes Health Care Deadline Back, Businesses Cheer

On Tuesday, President Obama announced that one-year delay for a crucial aspect of his Affordable Care Act. The delay gives businesses another year to figure out how to comply with the law.

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Hospitals
3:55 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Hospitals Continue to Make Cuts, and the State Continues to Defend its Budget

Hospitals are making cuts to programs and staffing following the passage of the new state budget. First, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford cut funding to a city infant mortality program. Then, last week, Waterbury Hospital announced it is cutting its workforce.

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Budget
3:55 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Hospitals Continue To Make Cuts, And The State Continues To Defend Its Budget

Hospitals are making cuts to programs and staffing following the passage of the new state budget. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. First, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford cut funding to a city infant mortality program. Then, last week, Waterbury Hospital announced it is cutting its workforce. Both hospitals blamed the cuts on a decrease in state funding.

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Elections
3:57 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

GOP's Cafero Bows Out Of Race For Governor, Says Republicans Should Focus On Economy

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Republican House Minority Leader Larry Cafero has decided against a run for Connecticut's governor. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, a recent poll showed Cafero had less support than at least three others in his party.

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Politics
3:15 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court, DOMA, and Mike Lawlor

Michael Lawlor, (r) and husband, David Zakur, outside the Stonewall Inn on Wednesday.
Credit CT Mirror (ctmirror.org)

Mike Lawlor got married over the weekend.

And while the state of Connecticut recognized his marriage to his husband, the federal government did not.  Until today.

I spoke with Lawlor as he sat on a park bench across from the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court rulings were read.  

If you can't catch the whole story, here's what you need to hear:

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News
2:21 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling A Sign That "Times Have Actually Changed"

Flickr Creative Commons, David Jones

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Equal Rights
2:21 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling A Sign That "Times Have Actually Changed"

Flickr Creative Commons, David Jones

A Connecticut man and his husband got married in this past weekend. Now on a honeymoon in New York, they were waiting to hear whether their marriage -- recognized by the state, but not by the nation -- would get the approval of the U.S. Supreme Court. WNPR's Jeff Cohen has this report.

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Health Care
4:34 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Study: Kids Can't Improve Their Teeth If They Don't See A Dentist

Each year, children across the country have a hard time caring for their teeth. A new study says that the problem is made worse because kids can't get in to see a dentist. The report comes from the Pew Children's Dental Campaign and makes two big observations.

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Budget
10:37 am
Mon June 24, 2013

St. Francis Hospital Cuts City Funding And Blames The State

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center is cutting funding to a Hartford program that targets infant mortality. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the hospital says the recently passed state budget is to blame. The Maternal Infant Outreach Program is almost 30 years old and is jointly funded by two hospitals and the city of Hartford.

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Hospitals
10:37 am
Mon June 24, 2013

St. Francis Hospital Cuts City Funding and Blames the State

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center is cutting funding to a Hartford program that targets infant mortality. The hospital says the recently-passed state budget is to blame. The Maternal Infant Outreach Program is almost 30 years old and is jointly funded by two hospitals and the city of Hartford. It serves about 450 pregnant women a year.

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Grief
2:35 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Newtown, Grief, and Progress -- Six Months Later

Six months after the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, a town is figuring out how to balance mourning and moving forward. Grieving is a process with a clear beginning but no clear path. And Jill Barron says that six months after the Sandy Hook shootings, one thing is clear -- everyone is at a different place. "Some individuals are struggling and some individuals are ready to accept help." 

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Your State Budget
1:38 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

There Will Be Keno. It Will Make Money. That’s About All We Know.

Like to gamble? Like beer? Try Keno!
Credit (Photo Courtesy Flickr, edkohler)

Promises - easy to make and tricky to keep.

In the case of Governor Dannel Malloy, he promised throughout the legislative session that he wouldn't raise taxes.  And, by his account, he didn't.  (Others disagree.)

But here's a riddle.  If you promise not to raise taxes, and you've cut all you say you can cut, and you STILL need money to balance the state's books, what do you do?

Answer: Keno.

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News
3:50 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

As Newtown Anniversary Approaches, a Bus Tour to Begin

This week marks the six month anniversary of the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown. One anti-gun group is planning a national bus drive to commemorate the day.

Erica Lafferty lost her mother, Dawn Hochsprung, on December 14. Hochsprung was the principal at Sandy Hook.

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Gambling
1:14 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

There Will Be Keno. It Will Make Money. That's About All We Know.

Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy said all session long that he would not approve new taxes. But that meant he had to find money somewhere. And, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, one place he turned was keno gambling.

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Segarra Administration
4:26 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Kupiec, Segarra's Chief of Staff, Resigns

There is shakeup in the administration of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Jared Kupiec, Segarra's chief of staff, is resigning.

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Hartford
4:26 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Kupiec, Segarra's Chief of Staff, Resigns

Hartford City Hall.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

There is shakeup in the administration of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. Jared Kupiec, Segarra's chief of staff, is resigning. Kupiec's resignation comes after a series of political missteps -- including one in which he used his city credit card to pay for a New Year's Eve dinner for Segarra, the mayor's spouse, and others. The dinner was at a high-end downtown restaurant and included champagne and caviar.

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Affordable Health Care Act
3:20 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Medicaid and Food Stamp Delays -- Is The Problem The People Or The Process?

The state has a problem. People who apply for food and medical benefits often face substantial delays before finally getting their approvals. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, it's an issue that has now twice ended up in federal court. Advocates for the poor say the solution is in the staffing.

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News
3:20 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Medicaid and Food Stamp Delays -- Is The Problem The People Or The Process?

The state has a problem.  People who apply for food and medical benefits often face substantial delays before finally getting their approvals.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, it's an issue that has now twice ended up in federal court. Advocates for the poor say the solution is in the staffing.  The state Department of Social Services says it's about efficiency, technology, and leadership.

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State Budget
4:39 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What Is The State's Constitutional Spending Cap?

If you've been following the negotiations over the state budget, you've no doubt heard three words: constitutional spending cap. But do you know what they mean?...Neither did WNPR's Jeff Cohen, who brings us this report. What is the constitutional spending cap?

"The constitutional spending cap was adopted as part of a broader political agreement to get majority support for the adoption of a state income tax." That's Bill Curry, a Democrat and one-time state comptroller, talking about the law that is now two decades old.

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Blue Laws
3:49 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

State May Loosen Some Sunday Hunting Restrictions

In Connecticut, hunting on Sundays is prohibited. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, a law now being considered may change that. State law pretty much forbids Sunday hunting. In fact, just possessing a hunting implement in the open on a Sunday is evidence that you've broken the law.

"It's an old blue law, it's been in effect I don't know how long, forever and ever, I guess." That's Robert Crook, the executive director of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen.

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News
3:49 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

State May Loosen Some Sunday Hunting Restrictions

In Connecticut, hunting on Sundays is prohibited.  But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, a law now being considered may change that. State law pretty much forbids Sunday hunting.  In fact, just possessing a hunting implement in the open on a Sunday is evidence that you've broken the law.  "It's an old blue law, it's been in effect I don't know how long, forever and ever, I guess." That's Robert Crook, the executive director of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen.  But a new bill has just passed the state house that would allow Sunday deer hunting on private land with a bow and arrow.

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Gun Control
3:25 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

State Doesn't Fear Lawsuit That Claims New Gun Laws Are Unconstitutional

The administration of Governor Dannel Malloy says a federal lawsuit challenging the state's new gun laws won't make it far in court. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. A group of gun rights advocates is suing the state over the guns laws passed in response to the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

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News
3:25 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

State Doesn't Fear Lawsuit That Claims New Gun Laws Are Unconstitutional

The administration of Governor Dannel Malloy says a federal lawsuit challenging the state's new gun laws won't make it far in court.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. A group of gun rights advocates is suing the state over the guns laws passed in response to the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.  Among other things, the law extends the state's assault weapons ban and bans large-capacity magazines.  The plaintiffs say the law is unconstitutional and call it a "hasty response to the tragic mass shootings in Newtown." But Mike Lawlor disagrees.

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Housing
12:40 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Hartford-Area Landlord Settles Discrimination Suit

Fair housing advocates are celebrating a victory. They recently won a settlement from a Hartford-area landlord who allegedly denied apartments to people using public assistance to pay their rent. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. The Connecticut Fair Housing Center claimed the landlord, Paul Rosow, discriminated against people who received disability checks and housing assistance.

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Housing
12:40 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Hartford-Area Landlord Settles Discrimination Suit

Fair housing advocates are celebrating a victory. They recently won a settlement from a Hartford-area landlord who allegedly denied apartments to people using public assistance to pay their rent. The Connecticut Fair Housing Center claimed the landlord, Paul Rosow, discriminated against people who received disability checks and housing assistance.

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Comcast Theatre
4:44 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

City Wants To Prevent Underage "Vodka Guzzling Fest" At Comcast Theatre

Hartford's outdoor concert season is about to start.  And while that's fun for a lot of people, some call it a scheduled mass casualty event.  Binge drinking is a serious concern for law enforcement and public health officials. 

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Summer Concerts
4:44 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

City Wants To Prevent Underage "Vodka Guzzling Fest" At Comcast Theatre

Hartford's outdoor concert season is about to start. And while that's fun for a lot of people, some call it a scheduled mass casualty event. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, binge drinking is a serious concern for law enforcement and public health officials.

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Health Care
5:04 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

State in Court Over Medicaid Delays

Advocates for the poor the state is so understaffed that it isn't processing Medicaid paperwork fast enough.  The result, they say, is that the state misses federal deadlines and leaves thousands of poor patients without medical care. These arguments are now playing out in federal court. 

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