Business sense vital

Aug. 16, 2013 @ 05:03 AM

Fiscal responsibility and accountability are just two of the reasons longtime local businessman L.I. “Poly” Cohen says he should remain on Sanford City Council for another term.

“I believe in staying ahead of the city’s needs,” he said. “The city council should always be forward thinking in its decisions.”

Cohen, who has served on the board for the last four years, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the Sanford City Council at-large district seat and faces local attorney Chas Post in the Sept. 10 primary. The Democratic winner will campaign against the Republican nominee, either Keith Clark or Max Dolan, in the general election.Cohen, who is the retired CEO of Lee Iron & Metal Co., moved to Sanford in 1959 as the vice president of a local metal scrapping company which ultimately became Lee Iron. Working with his family at his Sanford business has been an amazing experience, he said, adding he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s been interesting to say the least,” he said. “It’s been very rewarding and I’ve made a lot of good friends throughout the country. And it keeps the county clean. Every industry has scrap.”

Counter to most organizations or industries, Cohen said his business buys retail and then sells wholesale. Outside of work and the council, Cohen follows several college sports, including basketball and football, and said he enjoys traveling to Chapel Hill to watch the Tar Heels play.

Serving on a number of local boards including the Sanford-Lee County Airport Authority, the Lee County Parks and Recreation Board and a former member of the Lee County Economic Development Corporation Board, Cohen said he has a long history of supporting his community with common sense and financial integrity.

“It’s my business experience,” he said of what sets him apart from the other candidates. “I’ve been making payroll since I was 21 years old. It’s a wonderful thing to make payroll and make a business that supports your family while doing good for the town, city and the county.”

A supporter of the city’s $14.5 million bond referendums, Cohen said he was concerned about placing “important” quality of life issues on the ballot in a down economy.

“Data from other cities proves the time is right for the bond referendums,” he said. “I am willing to pay the 5.2 cents increase per $100 assessed property value to make the city I live in and love so much a better place.”

Cohen financed his campaign without donors so he doesn’t owe any special interests, he said.

“I want to do what is best for the people,” he said. “I am getting older and it gives me great satisfaction to give back to the people.”

If re-elected, Cohen said he’ll continue his open-door policy and reminded people to always contact him when they have a question or concern.

“I don’t hold grudges,” he said. “I’ve never held a grudge against anyone. I may not agree with someone, but that’s the way it goes. I am easy to get along with and I listen to everyone without getting mad.”