Paul Cook

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Congressman Cook Newsletter: September 30, 2014

2014/09/30

Capitol Update Local Control Must be Guiding Principle for Public Land Use As a 30-year resident of the Morongo Basin, I visit Joshua Tree National Park regularly. The breathtaking vista of the Coachella Valley from Key’s View and the beautiful desert scenery are unique and offer a tranquility found in few other places. We’ve come a long way from the time locals called it “the Monument” (in fact, some of us still do). Today, the park is one of the economic engines of the Morongo Basin, with over a million visitors bringing much-needed revenue and jobs to our community. I don’t think any of us could imagine life without the park. This relationship between the community and the national park is an optimal situation – one of mutual respect, communication, and share benefit and one that we can’t take for granted. Geographically, California’s Eighth Congressional District is the largest district in California. The federal government owns the vast majority of land in San Bernardino, Inyo, and Mono counties. I’m a strong supporter of protecting our public lands for public use, but the local communities must have a leading voice in any public land use decisions. We must be willing to engage the federal government and do so with necessary speed. Last week, I introduced legislation to designate the Alabama Hills as a National Scenic Area, ensuring that it would be protected for future generations. This legislation was drafted with extensive input from local officials, conservation groups, recreational users, and other vital local stakeholders. This National Scenic Area designation will guarantee that all recreational activities currently allowed will persist. This includes not only hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing, but hunting, fishing, and authorized motorized vehicle use as well. Additionally, recreational prospecting (rock-hounding) will continue in the historic mining areas under this legislation. To the east, we have a much more complex and imminent challenge involving efforts by the US Forest Service to turn the Mt. Baldy-San Gabriel Mountains area into a national monument. Too often, monuments and other land designations are made without local residents being allowed to take a leading role, and we can’t allow this to happen here. We can’t allow bureaucrats and activists in Washington and other big cities like Los Angeles to run roughshod over rural residents who live in and around the mountains. That’s why I’ve joined with San Bernardino County’s bipartisan congressional delegation in demanding that county residents have a leading voice in any proposed national monument designation for the San Gabriel Mountains. San Bernardino County residents know the specific land uses in the area, know where the lines should be drawn, and are familiar with issues like road access and economic activity. So far, we’ve succeeded in slowing down the process and forcing more public meetings. In order to ensure a quality plan and product, we must continue to express our views. The guiding principle for public land use must be local control. Conserving national treasures such as Joshua Tree National Park and the Alabama Hills are laudable goals but should always be done in cooperation with the people who live closest and who currently use the land. In all my time as an elected representative, I’ve never found people in Sacramento or Washington to know better than residents of San Bernardino or Inyo County when it comes to land issues. I implore readers to speak up if you have an opinion on these or any other land-use subjects. Too often, I’ve seen outside interest groups and outsiders dictate to us and ignore our wishes. This is our desert; these are our mountains. Let’s speak with strength and conviction on deciding our future. This editorial first appeared in the Hi-Desert Star in September 26, 2014. The article can be found here.   District Update Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority Ribbon Cutting Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority’s Omnivore System. This new technology has been retrofitted to fit inside the old facility, saving taxpayer millions of dollars by making the site energy self-sufficient. Over the course of the next twenty years, this new technology will save the facility $9 million in energy costs, a burden that would have otherwise been shouldered by tax payers. The project will stimulate the local economy, create jobs, and put us on the right path towards energy independence. This type of facility is the first of its kind in North America, and I’m proud it calls the High Desert home. [[{"fid":"340","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]]     Military Academy Nominations The new academic school year has started, and that means high school seniors from our district will begin the process of applying for college soon. If you are a current high school senior and are interested in attending one of our nation’s prestigious military academies, I encourage you to fill out an application through my office. Young Americans who attend West Point, the Naval Academy at Annapolis, or the Air Force Academy receive a world-class university education that gives them the skills to not only serve in their nation’s armed forces, but to lead successful careers later in life. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2014. The application for a service academy nomination can be found here. My office will be hosting informational "Academy Nights" in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned for more details. The Annual Arrowhead Pine Cone Festival The Annual Arrowhead Pine Cone Festival, which celebrates the beautiful mountain scenery and communities of the San Bernardino Mountains, will take place on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM. The festival will feature local vendor booths, food, crafts, and live performances. This event will be held at the Alpine Camp and Conference Center, 415 Club House Dr., in Blue Jay. Thanks to the support of donors, the festival is free to attend. For more information, visit the festival’s website. Apple Valley Airshow The San Bernardino County Department of Airports will host the Apple Valley Airshow on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Come watch a variety of planes take part in an acrobatic air show while enjoying food and local vendors. Admission will be $5, and kids under 12 years old get in for free. The show will be held at the Apple Valley Airport, 21600 Corwin Road, Apple Valley. For more information, click here. Women of Distinction On Friday, October 24, 2014, I’ll be hosting the second annual Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony on August 23 to honor women from the district. The event will take place from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the the Apple Valley Town Conference Center, located at 14955 Dale Evans Parkway, Apple Valley, CA 92307. There are many accomplished women who don’t get the recognition they deserve. This event is an opportunity to recognize women throughout the district who have made significant contributions to their communities. People from all over the district nominated women who they believe have taken an active role in their communities by focusing their time and effort to improve the lives of others. It’s important that we honor these contributions. Veterans Corner My office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs help with the Veterans' Administration please call my Apple Valley District Office at 760-247-1815. In-State Tuition Rates Made Available to GI Bill Recipients I’m pleased to announce a bill passed by Congress and signed into law this year will soon allow veterans who are eligible for GI Bill benefits to qualify for in-state tuition at any public university. When veterans enlisted into the military, they didn't sign up to defend one state, they committed to defending all of the United States. Given the transient lifestyle that often comes with serving in our nation’s military, our veteran-students often find it difficult to establish permanent residency in the state they live. As a result, they end up paying more than $10,000 on top of standard tuition rates to attend public universities as “out-of-state” students. Not only does this bill recognize the tremendous sacrifice and service of these men and women, it eases the financial burden as they pursue an education. I was proud to support such an important bill. Read More

Congressman Cook's Newsletter: September 25, 2014

2014/09/25

Capitol Update ISIS – Combating the Threat September 11 taught us that we can no longer ignore the threats of foreign terrorists who declare war on America. With hundreds of millions of dollars on hand from ransoms paid and outright theft, the Islamic State (ISIS) has emerged as the most well financed terrorist group in history. ISIS has over 31,000 fighters, including American citizens, and has displaced al Qaeda as the primary terror threat to the United States. I welcome the President’s newfound resolve to confront ISIS. When terrorists threaten America, we must respond decisively. I support using military force against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but let’s make one thing clear: we are in this position because we faltered in our commitment to Iraq. Furthermore, I’m disappointed we delayed launching a heavy air campaign against ISIS, which has given them time to hide their troops and leaders. Syria is mired in a civil war so bloody that it is no longer a coherent state, and it’s unlikely to reunite under a central authority. ISIS operates on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border, and unless we hit them in both Iraq and Syria, we’ll never defeat them. We must launch a serious air campaign immediately, not limited airstrikes, and hit terrorist targets across both countries. I oppose committing US ground troops, but arming proxy groups is fraught with peril as well. As a combat veteran in Vietnam, I witnessed firsthand the inability of local proxy forces to carry the fight to our enemies. The Iraqi army collapsed before the ISIS onslaught this year, reinforcing that lesson. The Kurds are our most loyal allies in Iraq, and we should arm them directly. However, the administration’s plan to arm rebel groups in Syria to fight ISIS might be the only plan available, but it isn’t a great plan. In Syria there are only three major forces on the ground opposing ISIS, and America cannot cooperate with two of them. The al-Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, is the most powerful rebel group in Syria other than ISIS; they should be targeted for destruction along with ISIS, not armed. Joining forces with Syrian President Bashar Assad isn’t viable either. Assad’s regime is an Iranian puppet that arms Hezbollah terrorists to wage war on Israel. Assad has killed tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Syrians and cannot be trusted. The Free Syrian Army is the only viable Syrian ally for America, but its membership and leadership have proven unreliable and schizophrenic in the past. While some factions contain moderate reformers, others are radical Islamists. Unfortunately, we cannot defeat ISIS with air strikes alone, and the Free Syrian Army is the only force on the ground that is not virulently anti-American. I reluctantly support providing limited arms to the Free Syrian Army after proper vetting and in conjunction with strict oversight of the training program. Fighting ISIS by proxy is a high-stakes poker game, and it might backfire. The Free Syrian Army is intent on removing Assad – ISIS is a temporary problem to them. Their goals and our goals do not overlap entirely, and they might prove themselves an unreliable partner. That said, our mission is to destroy ISIS, not end the Syrian civil war. Syria is not our concern so long as the next Syrian government does not support terrorism. Sending American forces into harm’s way is the most serious decision that we can make. The threat from ISIS to America and its allies is clear, and ignoring it will only cause the threat to grow. That’s why we must attack ISIS in Iraq and Syria. This editorial first appeared in the San Bernardino Sun on September 18, 2014. The article posted can be found here. Small Business Award This past week, I was proud to accept the Guardian of Small Business Award from the National Federation of Independent Business. My commitment to supporting our local small businesses has earned me a 100 percent rating from the NFIB, and I’ll continue supporting our small businesses so they can keep creating jobs in our communities. [[{"fid":"339","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"592","width":"445","class":"media-element file-full"}}]]  Veterans Corner My office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs help with the Veterans' Administration please call my Apple Valley District Office at 760-247-1815. Mobile Apps for Veterans Here is a list of great mobile apps that veterans might find helpful. Be sure to check them out and give them a try on your mobile device! Transit Discount for Veterans Mountain Transit has announced that veterans will receive a 50 percent discount on their fares. The transit board hopes this will make it easier for veterans to access medical care, which is often located far from veterans' homes. Participants need only show their Veterans Administration Card or the new Veteran Identification Card to obtain the discount. More information regarding the program can be found here. Read More

Rep. Paul Cook Votes to Extend Child Tax Credit

2014/09/25

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) voted in support of H.R. 4935, the “Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014.” The Child Tax Credit Improvement Act expands the number of families able to retain their hard earned tax dollars and makes the dream of having a family realistic for more Americans. This legislation will provide a credit of $1,000 per child under 17 to more families struggling to thrive under this burdensome tax code. It will also allow the tax credit to adjust with inflation so that it does not lose value over time. Additionally, this bill eliminates the “marriage penalty,” which prohibits married or separated parents in certain tax brackets from claiming the Child Tax Credit where single parents may. Cook said, “I’m proud to support this simple change in tax code that will benefit the average family, not big corporations. The Child Tax Improvement Act will put more money into the hands of hard working American and not in the hands of an out of control IRS.” A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Veterans’ 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. Read More

Rep. Paul Cook Votes to Improve Child Care Services

2014/09/25

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) voted in favor of S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014. This bill will secure and improve existing vital child care services to 1.5 million children nation-wide. This bill passed the House of Representatives with wide, bipartisan support. The Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014 will require states to invest in improving the quality of early childhood care services that are essential for child success. This bill supports low-income working families while ensuring their children are in a setting that will keep them safe, enhances parental choice by providing them with care options from all providers, and strengthens safety in child care by requiring all providers to comply with state health, safety, and fire standards. It also promotes high-quality child care by reserving resources to allow states to improve the quality of care rendered by caretakers and reinforces a prohibition on the administrations ability to direct, or place conditions on state’s adoption of standards around early learning guidelines and child-to-provider ratios. S. 1086 will reauthorize these programs through fiscal year 2020. Cook said, “As a father and grandfather, I understand how important it is to secure the best care for our children. This bill will make early childhood care more accessible and affordable to all American families. By setting higher standards for safety and training of child care personnel, millions of parents across the United States can rest easy knowing their children are receiving childcare that is safer and better than ever before.” A member of the House Veterans’ Affairs, 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. Read More

Rep. Paul Cook Introduces Bill to Create Alabama Hills National Scenic Area

2014/09/19

WASHINGTON – Last night, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) introduced H.R. 5573, legislation that would establish the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area. This designation would encompass 18,610 acres of the scenic Alabama Hills and would preserve it for recreational use by the public and future generations. A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) map of the proposed Alabama Hills National Scenic Area can be found here. This bill guarantees that all recreational activities currently taking place in the Alabama Hills will continue. This includes not only hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing, but hunting, fishing, and authorized motorized vehicle use as well. Additionally, recreational prospecting (rock-hounding) will continue in the historic mining areas under this legislation. This bill is the culmination of months of work by Rep. Paul Cook and the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group to draft legislative language acceptable to all key local stakeholders. The stewardship group is dedicated topromoting the long term vision, conservation, use, enhancement, and enjoyment of the Alabama Hills. Groups and organizations that have worked with the stewardship group include Inyo County, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, the Lone-Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, local business owners, and other key stakeholders. Cook said, “The Alabama Hills are a natural treasure, and I’m excited to introduce this bill to help guarantee our children and grandchildren can enjoy them the same way we do. The level of local input has been incredible and should serve as an example for how land use decisions are made.” The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group released a statement saying, “The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group is delighted by the introduction of legislation supporting our proposed National Scenic Area designation for the Alabama Hills. This is a culmination of years of collaboration and steadfast support from a broad range of stakeholders. We are proud of our partnership with the Bureau of Land Management in helping manage and protect this semi-primitive area and look forward to both preserving this jaw-dropping landscape and providing access to it for future generations.” A member of the House Veterans’ Affairs, 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. Read More

U.S. must attack ISIS in Iraq and Syria

2014/09/19

September 11 taught us that we can no longer ignore the threats of foreign terrorists who declare war on America. With hundreds of millions of dollars on hand from ransoms paid and outright theft, the Islamic State (ISIS) has emerged as the most well financed terrorist group in history. ISIS has over 31,000 fighters, including American citizens, and has displaced al Qaeda as the primary terror threat to the United States. I welcome the President’s newfound resolve to confront ISIS. When terrorists threaten America, we must respond decisively. I support using military force against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but let’s make one thing clear: we are in this position because we faltered in our commitment to Iraq. Furthermore, I’m disappointed we delayed launching a heavy air campaign against ISIS, which has given them time to hide their troops and leaders. Syria is mired in a civil war so bloody that it is no longer a coherent state, and it’s unlikely to reunite under a central authority. ISIS operates on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border, and unless we hit them in both Iraq and Syria, we’ll never defeat them. We must launch a serious air campaign immediately, not limited airstrikes, and hit terrorist targets across both countries. I oppose committing US ground troops, but arming proxy groups is fraught with peril as well. As a combat veteran in Vietnam, I witnessed firsthand the inability of local proxy forces to carry the fight to our enemies. The Iraqi army collapsed before the ISIS onslaught this year, reinforcing that lesson. The Kurds are our most loyal allies in Iraq, and we should arm them directly. However, the administration’s plan to arm rebel groups in Syria to fight ISIS might be the only plan available, but it isn’t a great plan. In Syria there are only three major forces on the ground opposing ISIS, and America cannot cooperate with two of them. The al-Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, is the most powerful rebel group in Syria other than ISIS; they should be targeted for destruction along with ISIS, not armed. Joining forces with Syrian President Bashar Assad isn’t viable either. Assad’s regime is an Iranian puppet that arms Hezbollah terrorists to wage war on Israel. Assad has killed tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Syrians and cannot be trusted. The Free Syrian Army is the only viable Syrian ally for America, but its membership and leadership have proven unreliable and schizophrenic in the past. While some factions contain moderate reformers, others are radical Islamists. Unfortunately, we cannot defeat ISIS with air strikes alone, and the Free Syrian Army is the only force on the ground that is not virulently anti-American. I reluctantly support providing limited arms to the Free Syrian Army after proper vetting and in conjunction with strict oversight of the training program. Fighting ISIS by proxy is a high-stakes poker game, and it might backfire. The Free Syrian Army is intent on removing Assad – ISIS is a temporary problem to them. Their goals and our goals do not overlap entirely, and they might prove themselves an unreliable partner. That said, our mission is to destroy ISIS, not end the Syrian civil war. Syria is not our concern so long as the next Syrian government does not support terrorism. Sending American forces into harm’s way is the most serious decision that we can make. The threat from ISIS to America and its allies is clear, and ignoring it will only cause the threat to grow. That’s why we must attack ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Read More

Representative Paul Cook Votes for American Jobs and Energy Independence

2014/09/19

 WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) voted in support of H.R. 2, the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act, and H.R. 4, the Jobs for America Act. These important bills will generate new American jobs and help America continue on the path to energy independence. The American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act contains a bundle of bills aimed at expanding America’s domestic energy production. It removes burdensome federal regulations that prevent the construction of vital projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline. This will increase American energy production and create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs. H.R. 4, the Jobs for America Act, incentivizes job creation by removing government obstacles to small businesses and implementing a pro-growth tax policy. These bills will lower the cost of doing business and make it significantly easier for business owners to expand, creating good-paying new jobs for working Americans. It will also put in place safeguards against future unnecessary regulations federal agencies wish to impose on small businesses. Cook said, “These two bills will boost our economy by getting government out of the way of private sector job creation. Energy independence can be a reality within the next five years if we adopt the right policies now. “For years, the Senate has acted as a graveyard for vital pro-growth legislation. These bills combine over thirty bipartisan job and energy bills passed by the House that the Senate has refused to act on. It’s time for the Senate to stop playing politics and put the well-being of the American people ahead of partisanship.” A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Veterans’ 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. Read More

Congressman Cook Newsletter: September 16, 2014

2014/09/16

Capitol Update Hacking of Obamacare Site Just Another Disaster Recently, a hacking scandal had the Internet and every cable news station in a frenzy. While the commentators obsessed over hacked nude celebrity photos, a far more destructive and invasive breach of privacy went largely unreported: the Department of Health and Human Services announced that healthcare.gov, the federal Obamacare website, was hacked in July, potentially leaving millions of Americans’ private information in the hands of criminals. While the celebrity photo hack was a gross violation for a select few, the healthcare.gov hack is far more significant and has the potential to leave millions of working Americans vulnerable to identity theft. The creation of healthcare.gov was to help individuals purchase health insurance. Designated as a “Data Services Hub,” this site collects private information from consumers. Once obtained, this information is routed to state exchanges, health care plans and state and local agencies for enrollment. Therefore, the security of Heathcare.gov is paramount. While Obamacare has privacy and security guidelines, they’ve been ineffective at preventing security breaches. Last week, federal officials reported that a hacker broke into healthcare.gov and uploaded malicious software. While it appears no personal data was taken, this is only the first successful hacking of a website where millions of Americans’ personal information is stored. In fact, the break-in wasn’t discovered until several weeks later during a routine scan. If it can happen once, it will likely happen again, and federal officials haven’t announced plans to correct the immediate problem. In Congress, I take threats to Americans’ personal information very seriously. Multiple committees have held hearings investigating the privacy protections and overall security of the healthcare.gov website. I wrote to then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius raising serious questions about site security and urging her to take down the website until these security measures were addressed. I also cosponsored H.R. 3811, the “Exchange Information Disclosure Act.” This bill requires the secretary of health and human services to notify any individual whose personally identifiable information was stolen or accessed unlawfully. H.R. 3811, an effort to provide greater transparency for the American people, passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support on a vote of 291-122. The Senate so far has refused to take up this common sense security bill. Sometimes problems come out of nowhere, but this one was obvious. The rollout of Obamacare has been a disaster, and an expensive one at that. We’ve spent over a billion dollars on the state and federal webpages alone. Lackluster security, and now this delayed response to a major security breach, should surprise no one. The federal government has no business collecting and holding your personal health information online. The healthcare.gov site is one of the most lucrative targets for identity thieves, and it’s a certainty that hackers will strike again. It’s time for the president to work on solutions, and it’s time for the Senate to move on H.R. 3811. This editorial first appeared in the Press Enterpriseon September 15, 2014. The article posted can be found here. Protecting Control of Local Waters Last week, I voted in favor of H.R. 5078 – the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act. This bipartisan bill will ensure local control by preventing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from taking control of virtually any body of water within the United States. H.R. 5078 will stop the federal government from intruding into affairs that should be made at the state level. It’s important to ensure that any actions taken by the EPA or the Army Corps of Engineers regarding California’s water supply be made in conjunction with recommendations put forth by state and local officials. The Clean Water Act was intended to create a partnership between our state and the federal government to protect our water supply, while ensuring meaningful local involvement in decision-making. This will prevent the administration from upsetting this balance and preserve this traditional partnership. Protecting Employee Health Care A week ago, I voted in support of H.R. 3522, the Employee Health Care Protection Act. This bill will help American workers keep their health care plans and will give Americans in the group health insurance market the opportunity to keep their policies through 2019. Last fall, millions of Americans across the country had their health care plans cancelled because of Obamacare. While these cancelled health care plans were primarily in the individual insurance market, millions of Americans with employer-sponsored coverage will also face plan cancellations as soon as October 2014. H.R. 3522 ensures that Americans enrolled in the employer-sponsored health care plans will not face a penalty under Obamacare’ individual mandate, giving them access to more affordable options to meet their needs. If nothing is done, what happened to millions of Americans with individual plans last fall will happen to employees of small businesses next month. President Obama and Congressional Democrats lied to the American people when they claimed you could keep your health care plan if they are happy with it. Millions of Americans have already lost their insurance and without this important bill, millions more will lose their insurance next month. This bill will help ensure that small businesses and their workers can keep their affordable plans. Rep. Cook Votes to Protest Illegal Release of Taliban Fighters When President Obama used his Commander-in-Chief authority to release five high-value Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, he directly violated two separate federal laws by failing to notify the Congress 30 days prior to taking action. While I protested the move from the outset, the Government Accountability Office has now issued a report reinforcing my position. As a result, a colleague of mine on the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Rigell of Virginia, introduced a resolution condemning this illegal action and gross violation of the separation of powers. House Resolution 644 admonishes the President for a willful violation of the law and turning a blind eye to the will of the Congress, who is most accountable to the people. Releasing these detainees to the loose supervision of a Qatari government that openly supports terrorists, virtually assures their return to the battlefield and endangers our men and women in uniform. It also encourages our enemies to kidnap and torture American servicemen and women in hopes that they can later be used as leverage for the release of more detainees. I supported this resolution in the House Armed Services Committee and on the floor of the House of Representatives and believe that it sends a message that the President is not above the law. Care Packs for Wounded Troops Last week, on the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I had the chance to honor our men and women in uniform by assembling care packages at an event organized by the USO. The event brought together 75 of my colleagues in the House to assemble over 1500 kits for wounded, ill, and injured U.S. troops around the world. The packs contained hygienic necessities like shampoo, shaving items and toothpaste. Programs such as this that give back to our nation’s heroes is a small step in repaying the debt we owe them for their service and sacrifice. [[{"fid":"336","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Rep. Paul Cook puts together care packs","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Rep. Paul Cook puts together care packs"},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"Rep. Paul Cook puts together care packs","title":"Rep. Paul Cook puts together care packs","style":"width: 225px; height: 338px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]]   District Update Centers for Healthy Generations – Rubber Ducky Event This past weekend, I visited the Center for Healthy Generations’ Rubber Ducky Fundraising Event in Yucca Valley. The event raised funds for the center’s efforts to serve seniors of the Morongo Basin. It was great fun, and I thank the center for having me!   [[{"fid":"335","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Rep Paul Cook Center at For Healthy Generations’ Rubber Ducky ","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Rep Paul Cook Center at For Healthy Generations’ Rubber Ducky "},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"Rep Paul Cook Center at For Healthy Generations’ Rubber Ducky ","title":"Rep Paul Cook Center at For Healthy Generations’ Rubber Ducky ","class":"media-element file-full"}}]]   Veterans Corner My office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs help with the Veterans' Administration please call my Apple Valley District Office at 760-247-1815. Veterans Job Fair The Jessie Turner Center will be hosting a veterans’ job fair on Friday, September 19, 2014 from 9:30am to 2:00pm. The event will be located at 15556 Summit Avenue, Fontana, CA 92336. Veterans and non-veterans are welcome to attend. Bring copies of your resumes and dress to impress! Veteran Town Hall The VA Loma Linda Medical Center will be hosting a veterans’ town hall this Thursday, September 18, from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. The event will take place in the Center’s auditorium, located at11201 Benton Street, Loma Linda, CA 92357. Read More

Hacking of Obamacare site just another disaster

2014/09/15

Last week, a hacking scandal had the internet and every cable news station in a frenzy. While the commentators obsessed over hacked nude celebrity photos, a far more destructive and invasive breach of privacy went largely unreported: the Department of Health and Human Services announced that HealthCare.gov, the federal Obamacare website, was hacked in July, potentially leaving millions of American’s private information in the hands of criminals. While the celebrity photo hack was a gross violation for a select few, the Healthcare.gov hack is far more significant and has the potential to leave millions of working Americans vulnerable to identity theft. The creation of HealthCare.gov was to help individuals purchase health insurance. Designated as a “Data Services Hub,” this site collects private information from consumers. Once obtained, this information is routed to state exchanges, healthcare plans, and state and local agencies for enrollment. Therefore, the security of HeathCare.gov is paramount. While Obamacare has privacy and security guidelines, they’ve been ineffective at preventing security breaches. Last week, federal officials reported that a hacker broke into HealthCare.gov and uploaded malicious software. While it appears no personal data was taken, this is only the first successful hacking of a website where millions of Americans’ personal information is stored. In fact, the break-in wasn’t discovered until several weeks later during a routine scan. If it can happen once, it will likely happen again, and federal officials haven’t announced plans to correct the immediate problem. In Congress, I take threats to Americans’ personal information very seriously. Multiple committees have held hearings investigating the privacy protections and overall security of the Healthcare.gov website. I wrote to then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius raising serious questions about site security and urging her to take down the website until these security measures were addressed. I also cosponsored H.R. 3811, the “Exchange Information Disclosure Act.” This bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to notify any individual whose personally identifiable information was stolen or accessed unlawfully. H.R. 3811, an effort to provide greater transparency for the American people, passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support on a vote of 291-122. The Senate so far has refused to take up this commonsense security bill. Sometimes problems come out of nowhere, but this one was obvious. The rollout of Obamacare has been a disaster, and an expensive one at that. We’ve spent over a billion dollars on the state and federal webpages alone. Lackluster security and now this delayed response to a major security breach should surprise no one. The federal government has no business collecting and holding your personal health information online. Healthcare.gov is one of the most lucrative targets for identity thieves and it’s a certainty that hackers will strike again. It’s time for the president to work on solutions, and it’s time for the Senate to move on H.R. 3811. Read More

Rep. Paul Cook Votes to Protect Employee Health Care

2014/09/11

  WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) voted in support of H.R. 3522, the Employee Health Care Protection Act. This bill will help American workers keep their health care plans and will give Americans in the group health insurance market the opportunity to keep their policies through 2019. Last fall, millions of Americans across the country had their health care plans cancelled because of Obamacare. While these cancelled health care plans were primarily in the individual insurance market, millions of Americans with employer-sponsored coverage will also face plan cancellations as soon as October 2014. H.R. 3522 ensures that Americans enrolled in the employer-sponsored health care plans will not face a penalty under Obamacare’ individual mandate, giving them access to more affordable options to meet their needs. Cook said, “If nothing is done, what happened to millions of Americans with individual plans last fall will happen to employees of small businesses next month. President Obama and Congressional Democrats lied to the American people when they claimed you could keep your health care plan if they are happy with it. Millions of Americans have already lost their insurance and without this important bill, millions more will lose their insurance next month. This bill will help ensure that small businesses and their workers can keep their affordable plans.” A member of the House Veterans’ Affairs, 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. Read More

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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

Buck McKeon

CALIFORNIA's 25th DISTRICT

Gary Miller

CALIFORNIA's 31st DISTRICT

Ed Royce

CALIFORNIA's 39th DISTRICT

Ken Calvert

CALIFORNIA's 42nd DISTRICT

John Campbell

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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