Long Island Association vice president Matthew Cohen has been promoted to president and CEO, the influential business group announced on Wednesday.
Cohen, 39, succeeds Kevin Law, 60, who left the LIA after 10½ years to become a partner and executive vice president at Tritec Real Estate Co. in East Setauket. Law’s tenure as LIA chief is the second-longest in the group’s 95-year history.
Cohen had been Law’s top aide at the LIA since 2011. They previously worked together at the Long Island Power Authority and Suffolk County government under then-County Executive Steve Levy.
LIA chairman Lawrence J. Waldman said Wednesday that Cohen’s "vision to maintain the LIA’s leadership role, his broad background and experience, and his commitment to Long Island made him the clear choice for the position at this critical juncture."
The group’s 77-member board voted Wednesday to promote Cohen after his selection by the executive committee. He participated in two rounds of interviews and was selected from a field of business and nonprofit leaders, sources tell Newsday. The newspaper's publisher, Debby Krenek, serves on the LIA board.
"We need to ensure that Long Island remains a place where people want to live, work and raise their families," said Cohen, who lives in Northport. "This means we need to have a thriving business community that can provide good-paying jobs while prioritizing affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, better access to child care and investments in our infrastructure and downtowns," he said.
Cohen said his immediate priorities include programs for small business owners and ensuring Long Island projects are part of the proposed federal infrastructure spending package.
He has been overseeing the LIA’s day-to-day operations since Law left on April 1 and helping to provide information to local businesses about pandemic relief programs via outlets such as the Newsday/LIA Town Halls, which are part of the Newsday Live event series.
As the LIA’s chief lobbyist, Cohen successfully fought for the state property-tax cap to be made permanent and sought millions of dollars for transportation, housing and economic development projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Law said Cohen "is well liked by federal, state and local officials, and that means he will have access to them and be listened to ... [He] was my trusted adviser who I always bounced ideas and initiatives off of. He will need no on-the-job training."
The LIA has seven employees and revenue of $2.6 million per year.
Prior to joining the group, Cohen was LIPA’s executive director of government relations and led U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Long Island office. Cohen received his law degree from Hofstra University and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania.
Schumer said, "Matt hit it out of the park as my Long Island director. He was relentless, substantively astute, creative and politically sharp."
Cohen serves on the boards of the tourism promotions agency Discover Long Island, Child Care Council of Suffolk County Inc. and the Long Island chapter of the New York State League of Conservation Voters.