Candidates Speak About Race For The 9th Congressional District

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(Memphis) In the race for the 9th Congressional District, it's a political face-off between Democratic incumbent Steve Cohen and Republican challenger, Dr. George Flinn.

Cohen said he believes the race is a referendum about his job performance, which he said voters like.

"I think the main issue is whether Steve Cohen has done a good job representing his constituents, provided constituent services and voted in ways that reflected of or not. Basically, it's a referendum on me," Cohen said.

Flinn said not much has been accomplished since Cohen has been in office.

"You know nothing much has happened over the past six years. Let's show the plan over the next two years about healthcare and how we can make this community better."         

Cohen, a former Tennessee state senator, is seeking a fourth term in Congress and touts bringing jobs to Memphis.

"We are proud of our record of creating jobs. I think anyone will tell you the American Steamboat Company wouldn't have been here if it had not been for my intervention and that was 500 jobs and new grants will produce and bring people to the city. It's a 15 million dollar grant."

Flinn, a former Shelby County Commissioner who has seven radiology clinics and owns 40 radio and TV stations, says more must be done.

"This area has been so good to me. I want to give back. I want to see us have jobs. I know how to create jobs," Flinn said.

Both candidates say they can work with others on both sides of the political aisle to get things done in Congress for the people of Memphis.

"We've found out that people approved of our work ethnic, our dedication to the district, our perspective, our ability to work with our President and current mayors and get the job done," Cohen said.

Flinn said he's willing to do more. "There is so much partisanship that we get nothing done. The people of the 9th District get left behind, nothing happens. So, I will work with whoever is in office, whoever is in Congress, the Senate, the Presidency to bring something to the voters of the 9th District."        

As for whether they'll agree to a debate, Cohen says no unless Flinn releases tax returns.

"Until he releases his income tax returns and it's open and transparent and I know what his income is and I know where he has tax shelters, deductions and payments to people about lawsuits, I want to have the same information he has about me. Until he does that we won't have a debate. If he does, we'll be happy to get together," Cohen said.

But Flinn said he won't be forced to play by Cohen's rules.

"I released everything the federal government has required and I am going to stick to my guns and I am not going to be bullied into doing something that makes no sense. Yes, enter into a debate and bring that up if you want."