Paul Cook

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Rep. Paul Cook Introduces Bill to Ban Drone Use That Impedes Firefighting Efforts on Federal Lands

2017/02/16

WASHINGTON- Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) introduced the Wildfire Airspace Protection Act of 2017. This bill will institute a criminal penalty on anyone who launches a drone that interferes with fighting wildfires on federal property.

Over the past couple years, aerial fire-fighting operations have been suspended over multiple wildfires due to privately-operated drones entering the airspace over the fire. Firefighting aircraft were grounded because of the threat posed to low-flying planes by the drones.  This prevented firefighters from keeping control of wildfires and, in at least one case, it led to thousands of additional acres being burned. Even more importantly, the suspension of air operations threatened the lives of firefighters.

The Wildfire Airspace Protection Act of 2017 would make it a felony to recklessly operate a drone that interferes with fighting wildfires on federal property. Violators would face a fine and imprisonment for up to five years.

Cook said, “Catastrophic wildfires are one of the biggest threats to life and property in the western United States. It’s shocking that despite aerial firefighting being repeatedly brought to a halt due to these reckless drone operators, there still is no law on the books against this behavior. These drone operators not only put the lives of aerial firefighters in jeopardy, but the loss of air support for fire crews allows wildfires to spread, threatening people and houses on the ground. Interfering with our firefighters is a serious problem, and this legislation will ensure that those who endanger our firefighters will face a serious penalty.”

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's Veteran Employment Bill Passes House of Representatives

2017/02/13

WASHINGTON- Today, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass HR 244, the HIRE Vets Act of 2017. Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) reintroduced this bipartisan bill earlier this year. It was introduced last Congress and passed the House with unanimous support, but was unable to pass the Senate before the end of the year.

This important legislation would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and effective program. Specifically, it would create an awards program recognizing the meaningful and verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. The program is designed to be self-funded.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor, the HIRE Vets Act would allow businesses to display “HIRE Vets Medallions” on products and marketing materials. These medallions would be awarded as part of a two-tiered system –Gold and Platinum – associated with specific hiring and retention goals each year.

The program also establishes similar tiered awards for small and mid-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. To ensure proper oversight, the Secretary of Labor would be required to provide Congress with annual reports on the success of the program with regard to veteran employment and retention results. 

Rep. Cook said, “The HIRE Vets Act is an opportunity for Americans to see which companies truly live up to the employment promises they make to veterans. Veterans who serve this country honorably shouldn’t struggle to find employment, and this bill creates an innovative system to encourage and recognize employers who make veterans a priority in their hiring practices. I’m grateful this bill passed the House with such overwhelming support and look forward to it passing the Senate and being signed into law soon.”

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 Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Chinese Counterfeiting

2017/02/07

WASHINGTON - Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) reintroduced HR 917, 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, “Electronic waste is the fastest growing segment of our domestic waste stream. This problem will continue to grow unless Congress acts to ensure that e-waste is recycled responsibly in the United States and out of the hands of overseas counterfeiters. The Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA) will help ensure our servicemen and women have reliable systems to protect us while creating thousands of jobs in Texas and around the country. I have worked on e-waste for a decade and look forward to Congress holding hearings on this bipartisan legislation and seeing it come before the House for a vote.”

Cook is Vice-Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is also a member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services Committees. He 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 Issues Statement on President Trump’s Intention to Nominate Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court

2017/02/01

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) issued the following statement on President Trump’s intention to nominate Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court:

“Judge Gorsuch is an outstanding choice for the Supreme Court. I’m extremely impressed with his background and am confident he will be a superb independent voice on the court. I’m confident Judge Gorsuch will not legislate from the bench, and will help restore the parameters for the courts as envisioned by our country’s founders. When he was appointed in 2006 to serve on 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, he received unanimous Senate support. Judge Gorsuch is a worthy replacement for Judge Antonin Scalia, and he should do well to help restore faith in the highest court of the land.”  

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Rep. Paul Cook Issues Statement on Temporary Immigration Ban

2017/01/30

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) issued the following statement on the temporary immigration ban.

"The President took action over the weekend in an effort to keep Americans safe by issuing a temporary ban on immigration and travel for individuals from seven countries. Previously, these seven countries were identified as "countries of concern" under the Obama administration. A December 2015 law, signed by former President Barack Obama and passed with bipartisan support in Congress, ended visa-free travel from those same seven countries due to the threat of terrorism. President Trump’s actions are built on this foundation.

Specific intelligence gathered prior to President Trump taking office demonstrates that ISIS is attempting to infiltrate the United States through our immigration and refugee channels in order to carry out attacks on our soil. We’ve seen attacks in Europe by terrorists posing as refugees, and the President was not willing to make the same mistakes here. Many of the countries included in the temporary ban have failed governments or are suffering from immense internal conflict. Amid failing governments and civil wars, there is often no way to verify the true identity of an applicant seeking to immigrate to the United States. Other countries included in the temporary ban, such as Iran and Sudan, are governed by regimes that sponsor terrorism directly.

That being said, I urge the President to take another look at the implementation of this temporary ban to ensure that individuals who have already been vetted and have valid green cards or visas are protected. I’m encouraged by Secretary Kelly’s announcement last night that holders of green cards would not be denied entry into the United States and hope that he and the President will take a look at other aspects of the order to ensure that it minimizes disruption. The bottom line is that this is a temporary measure while the administration implements new security and vetting procedures to keep the American people safe."

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Rep. Paul Cook Reintroduces Bill to Ban Sale of Purple Heart Medals

2017/01/23

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) reintroduced HR 544, the Private Corrado Piccoli Purple Heart Preservation Act.

The bill extends protections of original Purple Heart medals that the government presented to a wounded service member or the service member’s family.  Currently, second hand dealers sell lost or discarded Purple Hearts for hundreds or even thousands of dollars of profit with little reverence for the personal sacrifice paid by a member of the armed forces.

HR 544 is named for Private Corrado Piccoli, a WWII infantryman killed in action in 1944. A Purple Heart medal accompanied the telegram informing Private Piccoli’s family of his death. Sadly, years later and after his parents’ passing, the medal was lost. An Army Major discovered the lost medal in 2011 and, after researching the name engraved on the medal, returned it to Private Piccoli’s surviving siblings. The experience inspired the foundation of Purple Hearts Reunited, an organization that has, to date, returned over 300 Purple Hearts and rescued 700 more. 

As Veterans or their survivors pass away, dozens of these Purple Hearts become lost every year and find their way into pawn shops, secondhand stores, and estate sales. Service organizations like Purple Hearts Reunited work tirelessly to rescue these medals and return them to families.  While military collectors often acquire these medals for historical preservation, dealers mark up prices in an effort to take advantage of this good will.  This bill does not seek to punish collectors.  Instead, its purpose is to prevent profiteering from the sale of a medal that was already paid for by an American’s ultimate sacrifice. 

Members of Congress, along with a coalition of 32 Veterans organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and Purple Hearts Reunited support this legislation.  This bill protects protect the sanctity of the award through legislation that prevents the future sale of original Purple Hearts similar to protections already in place for the Medal of Honor.  The bill does not stop recipients and families from gifting or donating their medals, but it does protect the integrity of the medal and the legacy of the veteran that earned it.

Congressman Cook, wounded twice in combat himself, said, “These profit-seeking dealers cheapen the Purple Heart by buying and selling this symbol of sacrifice like a pack of baseball cards. I’m committed to defending our Veterans, and that means preserving their symbols of honor like the Purple Heart. These medals belong with families or in museums, not on an auction block.”

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Rep. Cook Votes for Major Regulatory Reform

2017/01/12

WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) voted for H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017. The bill passed the House by a 238-183 margin.

H.R. 5 takes aim at the problem of overreaching federal regulation by eliminating excessive red tape and regulations, lifting an unnecessary burden on hardworking Americans, and promoting jobs, innovation, and economic growth. The legislation brings together six separate reform bills that passed the House previously with bipartisan support.

Specifically this legislation promotes transparency by requiring publication of easy-to-understand online summaries of new proposed rules as well as proposed costs. It also requires agencies to choose the lowest-cost rulemaking alternative, permitting costlier rules only when justified. It also prohibits new billion-dollar rules from taking effect until the courts and Congress have a say.

The annual cost of federal regulations adds up to approximately $1.86 trillion, or $15,000 in regulatory costs per family each year. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 90% of small business owners support reforming the regulatory process.

Rep. Cook said, “Small businesses are being strangled by overregulation. We ought to be reducing regulations on them, so we can generate jobs for more Americans. The Obama administration has imposed a record number of major regulations, more than 600 during his time in office. This legislation begins to reverse some of the regulatory overreach and will help our businesses become more competitive."

 

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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Reps. Cook and Gabbard Reintroduce Bill Encouraging Employers to Hire More Veterans

2017/01/05

WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D- HI), introduced HR 244, the HIRE Vets Act OF 2017. This bipartisan bill, which was previously introduced last Congress, passed the House with unanimous support but was not able to pass the Senate before the end of the year.

This important legislation would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and effective program. Specifically, it would create an awards program recognizing the meaningful, verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. Cook and Gabbard designed the program to be self-funded.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor, the HIRE Vets Act would allow businesses to display “HIRE Vets Medallions” on products and marketing materials. These medallions would be awarded as part of a two-tiered system –Gold and Platinum – associated with specific hiring and retention goals each year.

The program also establishes similar tiered awards for small and mid-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. To ensure proper oversight, the Secretary of Labor would be required to provide Congress with annual reports on the success of the program with regard to veteran employment and retention results. 

Rep. Cook said, “The HIRE Vets Act is an opportunity for Americans to see which companies truly live up to the employment promises they make to veterans. Veterans who serve this country honorably shouldn’t struggle to find employment, and this bill creates an innovative system to encourage and recognize employers who make veterans a priority in their hiring practices.”

Rep. Gabbard said, “Roughly 500 veterans return to civilian life every single day, joining the more than 2.9 million veterans that have returned home since 9/11. While we’ve taken some important steps to encourage employers to hire more veterans, more than 400,000 veterans across the country are still unemployed today. Through their service, veterans develop unique skills, experiences, and leadership training that make them especially valuable to employers. The HIRE Vets Act incentivizes employers to hire veterans, and recognizes employers that provide a supportive work environment to retain veteran employees. I encourage our colleagues to join us in passing this bill unanimously again to move this support for our veterans and employers forward.”

 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.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a twice-deployed combat veteran and member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. She continues to serve as a Major in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

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Press Release: Reps. Cook and Takano Introduce Bill To Ensure Fair Housing Benefit for Student Veterans

2017/01/04

WASHINGTON- Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) and Rep. Mark Takano (D- California), introduced HR 245, the Veterans’ Education Equity Act. This bipartisan bill fixes a discrepancy in the way the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) currently determines Post-9/11 GI Bill housing payments for student veterans that prevents some veterans from receiving a fair housing payment.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a hard-earned benefit that pays for student veterans’ higher education tuition and fees, as well as a monthly basic allowance for housing (BAH) stipend. The BAH amount differs based on the cost of living in the zip code of the student’s school, with the goal of allowing the student veteran to live comfortably while undertaking his or her studies.

The VA determines the BAH amount based on the zip code where the school is certified, not necessarily where the school is located. This policy can result in monthly BAH payments that fall below or far exceed the actual cost of living. It also places schools that are both located and certified in the same zip code at a recruiting disadvantage, because local schools offer student veterans a much lower monthly BAH payment than satellite campuses of schools certified in more expensive areas.

Veterans who attend schools that offer classes located in the same zip code should receive an identical housing benefit. Current policy leaves some student veterans with housing stipends that do not cover their cost of living. In other cases, some schools take advantage of unfair recruiting practices by advertising higher BAH payments that give student veterans more than they need to live comfortably in that area. This policy results in higher than necessary taxpayer expenditures for the Post-9/11 GI Bill without resulting in better educational outcomes for student veterans.

The Veterans Education Equity Act fixes this by calculating the payment based on where students attends their classes, not where the institution of higher learning is certified. This bill ensures veterans receive an adequate and fair housing allowance while eliminating fraud and abuse of the program. 

Rep. Cook said, “One of my top priorities in Congress is protecting the benefits our veterans have earned while defending this nation. This important legislation ensures that our student veterans are getting a fair and reasonable housing benefit so they can afford to complete their education.”

Rep. Takano said, “The GI Bill’s housing allowance is critical to ensuring student veterans receive the education they have earned. This technical fix to the program will provide needed support to veterans while protecting the integrity of the GI Bill

 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. Paul Cook Votes To Provide Drought Relief for California

2016/12/08

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) today voted for S.612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The measure includes language from the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, which passed the House in September, in addition to provisions to improve drinking water infrastructure, improve water storage and delivery to drought-stricken communities, address federal dam maintenance backlogs, and approve longstanding water settlement agreements. The bill also addresses the needs of America’s harbors, dams, flood protection, and other water resource infrastructure.

Specifically the bill improves water storage and delivery for suffering, drought-stricken communities in California and other parts of the West. It expedites water storage and delivery and alternative water supply programs in the West to help many communities that are suffering from the drought. It also provides regulatory flexibility to capture more water in existing reservoirs during the wet months in California while not changing the Endangered Species Act.

Rep. Cook said, “Today’s much-needed legislation is the most significant drought relief legislation in decades. Over the past few years, Californians have continued to suffer from droughts without any real infrastructural changes to improve the situation. This bill brings relief to drought-stricken communities, and it increases our ability to maximize our current water supply. I’m hopeful this common-sense legislation will pass in the Senate and be signed into law.”

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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