Paul Cook

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Rep. Cook Co-sponsors Hunting, Education and Recreational Development (HEARD) Act

2016/07/26

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today announced that he is co-sponsoring H.R. 5836, the Hunting, Education and Recreational Development (HEARD) Act.

The HEARD Act establishes an orderly process for the sale, conveyance and exchange of federal lands not being utilized by public land management agencies that have been identified for disposal. The HEARD Act will yield significant benefits for education, sportsmen, agriculture and natural resource users, counties and states by establishing a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for all.

It distributes certain revenues derived through this Act by returning 15% to the state where the disposal takes place for K-12 and higher education; 15% to one or more land grant universities in the State where the disposal takes place; 10% to one or more counties and county extension offices where the disposal takes place; and 10% to a special account in the treasury in order to increase access for hunters, recreational fishing, recreational shooting, OHV use, and other purposes.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), the total federal acreage exceeds more than 635 million acres. Currently, more than 80% of the land in Cook’s Congressional District is federally owned land.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has identified hundreds of thousands of acres for disposal that the agency is not efficiently utilizing. However, existing law does not require the BLM to dispose of identified lands on a regular or frequent basis. As a result, the Bureau of Land Management rarely disposes lands identified as potentially available.

Rep. Cook said, “We currently have a massive amount of land under the control of the federal government, especially in my district. We have to do a better job at making sure we’re making the most efficient use of our land. Our public lands should be used to benefit our communities not bureaucrats in Washington.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Rep. Cook Votes for Veterans' Compensation COLA Act of 2016

2016/07/11

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for H.R. 5588, the Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act of 2016. The bipartisan bill passed the House unanimously.

H.R. 5588 would increase, as of December 1, 2016, the rate of Wartime Disability Compensation, Compensation for Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to a Surviving Spouse, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Children by the same percentage as any increase in benefits provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act.

Veteran disability compensation programs provide relief from the impaired earning capacity of disabled veterans as the result of their military service. Each year, Congress considers legislation that sets the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by reference to the Social Security increase.

Rep. Cook said, “Congress has a responsibility to ensure that we take care of our veterans and that their compensation is in line with increases in living expenses, especially when it concerns veterans who sustained injuries defending our freedom.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Rep. Cook Votes for Mental Health Care Reform

2016/07/07

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) voted for H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Cook is a cosponsor of this bipartisan bill, which passed with overwhelming support.

H.R. 2646 reforms the nation’s broken mental health system by refocusing programs and removing federal barriers to care. The legislation establishes an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use to run the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMSHA) and helps coordinate mental health programs across the federal government.

It would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to clarify medical privacy rules to improve communication among providers, families, and patients to improve mental health treatment for those with serious mental illness.

Additionally, the bill codifies a recent Medicaid rule to foster access to care for short-term stays of adults in institutions for mental disease, and improves mental health care for children with serious emotional disturbance or adults with serious mental illness, including expansion of Assisted Outpatient Treatment.

More than 11 million Americans have severe schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. Millions are going without treatment, and individuals and families struggle every day to find appropriate care.

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study highlighted that 112 federal programs intended to address mental illness are not connecting for effective service delivery and “interagency coordination for programs supporting individuals with serious mental illness is lacking.” Meanwhile, the federal government dedicates $130 million annually towards mental health. This legislation is fiscally responsible and fully offset, with a net deficit reduction of $5 million.

Rep. Cook said, “We’re not doing enough to address mental health. This bill is the first serious reform to our nation’s mental health programs in decades. It addresses many of the problems with the current system and does so in a fiscally responsible way that will result in better care.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Rep. Cook Announces Apple Valley Desert Water Reuse Grant

2016/07/06

Washington, D.C. –Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today announced that the Town of Apple Valley received a $300,000 grant from the US Bureau of Reclamation for the Apple Valley Desert Water Reuse Project. Cook wrote a letter in support of the town’s grant application earlier this year.

The Apple Valley Desert Water Reuse Project will convert the source of irrigation water at five locations from potable water to reclaimed water by constructing a pipeline to transport reclaimed water from the Apple Valley Water Reclamation Plant. The proposed project will also retrofit the existing irrigation system at each site to allow for the use of reclaimed water.

Utilizing reclaimed water for irrigation purposes will reduce the use of potable groundwater, thereby decreasing demand on the stressed Mojave River Groundwater Basin by providing an additional 961 acre-feet of water per year during periods of drought. The project is estimated to save the Town of Apple Valley one million gallons of potable water per day.

Rep. Cook said, “I’ve always been a proponent of innovative ideas to manage our most precious and scarce resource. Reducing the town’s reliance on imported potable water for irrigation ensures that the town is in a better position to withstand severe drought conditions.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Rep. Cook Votes to Reopen Clear Creek For Off-Road Vehicles and Recreation

2016/07/06

Washington, D.C. –Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) voted last night for H.R. 1838, the Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act. Cook is a cosponsor of this bipartisan bill which passed the House unanimously.

H.R. 1838 establishes the Clear Creek National Recreation Area in San Benito and Fresno Counties, California. Specifically, this legislation requires the reopening of the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) for recreational use and re-designates it as a National Recreation Area.

In addition, the bill requires the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to develop a plan to minimize the risk from naturally occurring asbestos exposure, educate visitors about asbestos-associated health risks, reduce environmental impacts from off-highway vehicles (OHV) use, and develop a permanent management plan.

Rep. Cook said, “This bill will ensure that we safely reopen the Clear Creek area which is an important destination in California for off-road use and other recreation. It’s crucial that we keep our public lands available for public use and this bill ensures just that.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Rep. Cook Cosponsors Legislation to Encourage Earthquake Ready Homes

2016/06/30

Washington, D.C. – This week, Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced HR 5610, the Earthquake Mitigation Tax Incentive Act, bipartisan legislation to exclude earthquake mitigation incentives from being taxed at the federal level. California has already made these incentives tax-free at the state level.

The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services established the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) to help Californians strengthen their homes against damage from earthquakes. As the first program developed by CRMP, the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) Program provides small grants to help homeowners pay for code-compliant retrofits. A residential seismic retrofit strengthens an existing house, making it more resistant to earthquake activity by bolting the house to its foundation and adding bracing around the perimeter of the crawl space. In order to maximize the value of the incentive, H.R. 5610 would make the incentive tax-free at the federal level.

Rep. Cook said, “This bill will bring federal tax law into sync with California law to encourage residents in earthquake-prone regions to take preventative measures to safeguard their homes. Current federal law penalizes Californians with taxes, which leaves families and structures less safe. We have to change this, and these tax incentives are a step in the right direction.”

Rep. Thompson said, “After the South-Napa earthquake damaged more than 1,500 homes in 2014, we need to do everything possible to ensure that our homes are better prepared to withstand the next earthquake. By ensuring that homeowners can take advantage of seismic retrofits without being taxed, this bipartisan legislation will help encourage more homeowners to take preventive measures to strengthen their homes against earthquake damage.”

Glenn Pomeroy, CEO of the California Earthquake Authority, said, “We’ve designed this incentive program to help Californians make their homes safer. That’s why this legislation is so important, because people who do the right thing by taking advantage of this program shouldn’t be penalized with a tax. California fixed the problem at the state level, and now it’s time for the federal government to do the same.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Rep. Cook Introduces Legislation To Combat Chinese Counterfeiting

2016/06/24

WASHINGTON - Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) today introduced HR 5579, the Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA). This national security bill stops the flow of e-waste to China and other countries that regularly counterfeit electronics. The bill will ensure that such waste does not become the source of counterfeit goods that may reenter military and civilian electronics in the United States.

SEERA addresses an issue first identified in a Senate Armed Services Committee study that found 1,800 cases of counterfeit parts in military technology. The Senate study concluded that “there is no way to predict how well they [counterfeit chips] will perform, how long they will last, and the full impact of failure.” Defense experts have also raised concerns that malware can be placed on counterfeits to help hackers and cyber-terrorists launch attacks.

SEERA would stop the flow of e-waste from the United States that is undermining our national security by requiring domestic recycling of all untested, nonworking electronics. By keeping these materials in the United States, we will keep them out the hands of counterfeiters and data thieves. Under SEERA, export of tested working equipment will continue and is expected to grow, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for Americans. Customs and Border Protection would be authorized to inspect shipments of electronic products intended for export and would stop the shipment and hold the shipper accountable.

Cook said, “China regularly counterfeits electronics and puts these dangerous products, including critical military equipment, back into the market. These electronic components threaten the reliability and safety of a wide range of technology. SEERA will ensure we’re not exporting electronic scrap materials that come back to us as counterfeit parts and undermine the reliability of technology essential to our national security.”

Green said, “E-waste is the fast growing segment of our domestic waste stream. This problem will continue to grow unless Congress acts to ensure that electronic waste is recycled responsibly in the United States and out of the hands of counterfeiters overseas. The Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA) will help ensure our servicemen and women have reliable technology to protect our country and create thousands of jobs in Texas and recycling facilities around the country. I have worked on e-waste for nearly a decade and look forward to Congress holding hearings on this bipartisan legislation and seeing it come before the full House for a vote.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Rep. Cook Votes for Legislation to Facilitate Ontario Airport Transfer

2016/06/21

WASHINGTON - Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for HR 4369, which authorizes the financing of the transfer of ownership of the Ontario Airport from the city of Los Angeles to a new Airport Authority made up of the City of Ontario and San Bernardino County.  Rep. Cook joined with a bipartisan coalition of Inland Empire legislators in co-sponsoring this legislation. It passed the house with overwhelming support. 

The bill permits the Department of Transportation to authorize the use of a passenger facility charge (PFC) to finance the transfer of Ontario Airport back to local authorities. The fees will help pay off the cost for the two terminals. Under the transfer agreement, the Ontario International Airport Authority will pay Los Angeles World Airports $50 million from passenger facility charges in the first five years; and another $70 million from passenger facility charges in the final five years.

Ontario allowed Los Angeles to operate the airport beginning in 1967 but turned over ownership in 1985. In recent years, the number of annual passengers has dropped from 7.2 million in 2007 to 4.2 million in 2012.

Cook said, “This bill is critical to complete the transfer process of the Ontario Airport back to local control. Without this legislation, we can’t complete the transfer which is critical for the Inland region. I’m confident local control will mean revitalization of the airport which will be good for our economy and good for our residents.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Cook, Lovingood Applaud Lake Havasu Decision

2016/06/17

WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) and San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Robert A. Lovingood hailed the withdrawal of a federal proposal that would have severely curtailed boating and other recreational activities on Lake Havasu.

In May 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued new motorized boating restrictions that arbitrarily expanded a no-wake zone on Lake Havasu. The restrictions were created behind closed doors, with no notice and no opportunity for public comment. In April of this year, the USFWS announced additional draft regulations and the agency’s intent to pursue even more restrictions on Lake Havasu. The controversial regulations would have prevented water-skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding within the 4,000-acre manmade Topock marsh and on an additional 520 acres of the Havasu Reservoir.

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017, which included language condemning the actions taken by the Service when proposing new boating restrictions for Lake Havasu.

 “After reflecting on input we received at public meetings and the great numbers of letters and comments submitted, I have reached the conclusion that more communication is needed before any additional changes are introduced at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge," said Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Southwest Regional Director, USFWS. “I have decided to withdraw the current draft CD (compatibility determination) at this time to allow for further discussions with the community and other stakeholders.”

Rep. Cook said, “While the recent announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw the proposed recreational restrictions on Lake Havasu is promising, it doesn’t mean this issue is over. We must remain vigilant and continue to ensure that federal regulators don’t limit public use on our public lands.”

“The proposed federal regulations were a classic example of excessive governmental over-reach that would have ended wonderful recreational activities and closed businesses,” Lovingood said. “We need to bring common sense to regulatory agencies. We need to always remember government exists to serve people and that that public has a right to use its public lands – and waterways.” 

Nearly 3 million visitors vacation at Lake Havasu each year, spending more than $200 million and supporting nearly 4,000 full-time equivalent jobs. A typical holiday weekend draws nearly 50,000 boaters to the area. Some 75 percent of tourists are interested in waterskiing, wakeboarding or boating while visiting Havasu. More than 1,000 people turned out to public hearings on the proposed federal regulations.

Motorized boating is already restricted by the USFWS on 17.5 miles of waterways in the area. The proposed new rules come on the heels of a USFWS closure last year that prohibited motorized boating within the reservoir in a half mile area that had been used by recreational enthusiasts for several decades.

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Rep. Cook Votes to Stop Terrorist Recruiment

2016/06/16

WASHINGTON - Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for H.R. 5471, the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act. The bill passed with overwhelming support.

H.R. 5471 directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take steps to combat terrorist recruitment in the United States. Specifically, the legislation combines three bills that previously passed the House this Congress including: H.R. 4401, the Amplifying Local Efforts to Root out Terror, or ALERT, Act; H.R. 4820, the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act and H.R. 4407, the Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act.

H.R. 4401 “scales up” U.S. government efforts to counter radicalization and terrorist recruitment nationwide by authorizing the Department of Homeland Security to better use existing fusion centers to reach out to communities. There are nearly 80 fusion centers nationwide that bring together law enforcement agencies, intelligence representatives, first responders, and other state and local organizations, and these nodes can be an important point of outreach to help communities with spotting signs of radicalization and disrupting potential attacks.

H.R. 4820 requires the Department of Homeland Security to do more to counter-message terrorist organizations like ISIS that are using social media propaganda to recruit and radicalize potential operatives within our own communities. It requires DHS to use the testimonials of former extremists to fight back against terrorist recruitment.

H.R. 4407 establishes the Counterterrorism Advisory Board (CTAB) and ensures DHS is effectively integrating intelligence, operations, and policy to fight terrorism. The legislation ensures CTAB keeps pace with today’s evolving threats, outlines its core duties, and requires the Secretary to appoint a DHS-wide Coordinator for Counterterrorism to oversee the board.

Cook said, “The Orlando terror attack is a tragic reminder of the need to be vigilant in fighting terrorism, not only threats that exist outside the US, but also homegrown threats that are inspired by radical ideologies. We need to ensure that law enforcement has all the tools they need here at home to prevent future attacks and that we’re doing everything we can to fight against terrorist organizations who are seeking to influence those in the US to commit attacks here at home.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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Contact Information

1222 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5861
Fax 202-225-6498
cook.house.gov

Col. Paul Cook (ret.) was elected to serve in the US House of Representatives in November 2012.  He represents California’s 8th Congressional District which includes the high desert communities of San Bernardino County as well as Mono and Inyo counties.  He currently serves on the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Veterans’ Affairs committees.

An infantry officer who served with distinction in the United States Marine Corps and a veteran of the Vietnam War, Col. Cook’s military career spanned twenty-six years. His actions in combat earned him a number of honors, including two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star Medal with a V for valor. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1992 as a colonel.

After retirement, Cook continued his service by seeking and winning a seat on the Yucca Valley Town Council, ultimately serving as Mayor. He became known for his commitment to conservative fiscal policies that protected working families from higher taxes.

In 2006, Cook’s neighbors elected him to represent them in the California State Assembly. Since then, he has distinguished himself by tackling some of the most important issues of the day, like fighting government corruption, reducing taxes, and increasing penalties on sex offenders who prey on children. As Chairman of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, he has been a tireless advocate for veterans and military families.

Holding a lifelong commitment to education, Cook has taught history and political science at Copper Mountain College, California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB), and University of California, Riverside (UCR). He holds a master’s in political science from UCR and a master’s in public administration from CSUSB.

Cook has held leadership posts with his local United Way and Red Cross chapters and served as past Executive Director of the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion. He and his wife Jeanne reside in Yucca Valley.


Serving With

Doug LaMalfa

CALIFORNIA's 1st DISTRICT

Tom McClintock

CALIFORNIA's 4th DISTRICT

Jeff Denham

CALIFORNIA's 10th DISTRICT

David Valadao

CALIFORNIA's 21st DISTRICT

Devin Nunes

CALIFORNIA's 22nd DISTRICT

Kevin McCarthy

CALIFORNIA's 23rd DISTRICT

Steve Knight

CALIFORNIA's 25th DISTRICT

Ed Royce

CALIFORNIA's 39th DISTRICT

Ken Calvert

CALIFORNIA's 42nd DISTRICT

Mimi Walters

CALIFORNIA's 45th DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

Darrell Issa

CALIFORNIA's 49th DISTRICT

Duncan Hunter

CALIFORNIA's 50th DISTRICT

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