Mark B. Cohen (born June 3, 1949) is a Democratic Party member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 1974. He is currently his second stint as Democratic Majority Caucus Chairman, a position he previously held from 1990 through 1992. Cohen is second in seniority in the House, second among elected House leaders in seniority as a House leader, and the most senior elected legislative leader from Philadelphia.
Cohen holds a Bachelor's Degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Lebanon Valley College, and a juris doctor from Widener University School of Law. He helped the effort to bring a Widener Law School campus to Harrisburg, the state capital.
Cohen became involved in politics very early in life, door to door canvassing with his father for Democrats beginning at age 5. He was an active volunteer and strategist for each of his father's eleven campaigns for Philadelphia municipal office--eight successful and three unsuccessful--from 1967 through 2003.
He became an officer of the College Young Democrats at the University of Pennsylvania and served as Co-Chairman of Philadelphia Students for Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. He was one of the first 14 students elected to the University Council of the University of Pennsylvania, an advisory committee to University President Gaylord Harnwell and a key part of university governance. He was an intern in 1967 for Congressman William J. Green and later in 1968 for Senator Joseph S. Clark. He served as an aide to Milton Shapp's gubernatorial campaign in 1970 and as a member of the Youth Advisory Council of Governor Raymond P. Shafer. He was active in the Philadelphia planning committee for the 1970 White House Conference on Children and Youth, the last in a series of seven such decennial conferences called by Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon.
Cohen is a member of the President's Council of Common Cause, appointed to this position by Common Cause President and CEO Robert W. Edgar. This is a key advisory position in one of the leading good governance organizations. Cohen also serves as a member of the State Legislative Advisory Board of the Democratic Leadership Council. 
He is the prime sponsor in the Pennsylvania House of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. He has been a strong supporter of state regulation of lobbying and campaign finance and has worked successfully to make voter registration easier for voters. Press releases on his official website noted on September 17,2007 that he has initiated the ongoing efforts to establish a state university in Philadelphia, and on November 1, 2007 that he inititiated state efforts to appropriate state funds for MRSA superbug research.
Cohen takes an interest in labor relations issues and served as the Chairman of the House Labor Relations Committee from 1983 to 1990, as a result of appointments by Speakers K. Leroy Irvis and James J. Manderino.
He is a member of the executive board of the National Labor Caucus of State Legislatures. Cohen is a supporter of a higher minimum wage. He sponsored bills in 1987 and 1988 which increased the Pennsylvania minimum wage above the Federal minimum wage for the first time. In 2005 and 2006, he initiated legislation which increased the state minimum wage to $7.15 per hour starting in 2007. He continues to seek further increases in the minimum wage to $8.15 in 2008, $8.75 in 2009, and $9.35 in 2010, with annual cost of living increases beginning in 2011.
Cohen successfully supported Act 45 of 1982 increased authority of pension funds to make high-yield investments, allowing up to 50% of investments (up from 10%) to be in stocks, and allowing real estate investments, which created a much higher rate of return for them and dramatically reduced their costs for taxpayers.
In 2001, he joined Governor Tom Ridge and the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans in supporting pension increases for state workers and school district employees (including a 50% increase in pensions for state legislators). The increases were largely funded by major increases in mandated pension assessments by employees state annual public pension fund earnings in excess of the 4% per year credited to employee retirement accounts. These pension increases have led to a virtual elimination of teacher vacancies in the School District of Philadelphia, and many new jobs for young people around the state due to additional retirements in Pennsylvania's state government and school districts In addition he has supported pay increases and then the repeal of pay increases for judges and legislators.
Cohen's labor relations work included efforts to reduce the backlog and the wait for claimants in the state workman's compensation system, protection for whistleblowers employed by state government, and creation of a state right to know policy for workers and community residents impacted by dangerous workplace chemicals. According to a Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce newsletter in the Fall of 1983,he received an award from the the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce while serving as Chairman of the House Labor Relations Committee for his leadership in bringing solvency to the state unemployment compensation fund.
Cohen has also joined Mayor Edward Rendell and leaders of the Chambers of Commerce and the AFL-CIO in supporting Act 1 of 1999 which appropriated $320 million of state funds to build sports stadiums in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Cohen is a Democratic committeeperson for the 53rd Ward, 16th Division in Philadelphia, a member of the Democratic State Committee representing Northeast Philadelphia, and was elected as a delegate pledged to Howard Dean for the 2004 Democratic National Convention. An early 2007 supporter of Barack Obama's presidential campaign who according to Federal Election Commission records contributed $1000 to Obama's campaign on March 17, 2007, he continues to participate in various political organizations including Democracy for America and the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, the governing body of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, to which he was re-elected for a four year term in the May, 2006 Democratic primary.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has published articles questioning whether or not his expense account spending was excessive, noting expenditures over two years of $28,200 for books he thought of relevance to public policy, $3,050 for magazines and periodicals, and $46,000 in legislative per diems.
Cohen was the only vote among the members of the Speaker's Commission on Legislative Reform against adding a proposal to allow electronic access to all legislative expense account records to the legislative reform package. Cohen said he feared that the expenses would become gossip fodder for the press, but voted for the final version of the Commission recommendations including electronic access to all legislative expense account records at a Commission meeting and on the House floor. Cohen also voted against a study of a Constitutional Convention supported by most Democrats and opposed by most Republicans.
Democracy Rising PA, an advocacy group run by retired Democratic staffer Tim Potts, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, published a 2007 study, released July 12, 2007, rating legislative independence from House and Senate floorleaders. Rep. Cohen was rated on the Microsoft Excel spreadsheets enclosed with the study as voting with Democratic leader Bill DeWeese 220 out of 232 times, voting with DeWeese more times than 61% of the House Democratic Caucus; he has long been part of Democratic leadership as an elected caucus leader since January, 1990.