Paul Cook

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

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

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

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

Congressman Cook Newsletter: September 9, 2014

2014/09/09

Capitol Update  ISIS - An Emerging Threat Over the past month, the world has borne witness to the brutality of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Now that Congress is back in session, both the House Armed Services and the Foreign Affairs Committees will hold hearings on this new threat to global security. I sit on both committees and take an active role in developing the response to these murders. As a 26-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I understand the need for a strong and swift response to terrorists. ISIS is an organization that publicly executes women and children and is dedicated to the genocide of ethnic and religious minorities. It carries out attacks on our allies and beheads our citizens in an effort to taunt the United States. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress in developing a plan to destroy ISIS and keep America and our allies safe from terrorism. Suicide Prevention Month  September is Suicide Prevention Month. Around 800,000 to a million people die by suicide every year, making it the 10th leading cause of death worldwide, and it is estimated that someone dies of suicide every 13 minutes. This month many hospitals and medical organizations are raising awareness of the national crisis through education. Suicide affects a wide range of people from every race and age group, and there are ways to recognize the warning signs that suicide attempt might occur. We can all do something to help those who are prone to suicide – the clinically depressed, the mentally ill, and the bullied. If you think you or someone you know might benefit from counseling services, please visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-237-TALK (8255).   Combating Lung Cancer Today, members of my staff and I were delighted to meet with members of the Lung Cancer Society. I was especially excited to meet fellow marine veteran Leo McCarthy of Big Bear Lake, who himself is a lung cancer survivor. It was inspiring to hear what this group of dedicated individuals had to say about cancer research and their efforts to help save lives.     #AskCook Please send me your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #AskCook, or on Facebook by leaving a comment on my Facebook page. I'll be answering a couple questions each week and featuring them in next week’s newsletter. Be sure to follow me at @RepPaulCook and “like” my Facebook Page for updates.     District Update Big Bear Valley Historical Society Last week I had the pleasure of cutting the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of the Caddy Shack, the last remaining building from Big Bear’s long-lost Peter Pan Woodland Club. The Peter Pan Woodland Club was renowned for its world-class golf course and resort, and a fire destroyed every bit of the compound except for the Shack. Along with Big Bear mayor Jay Olbernolte, the new museum’s curator, Kim Sweet, and the members of the Big Bear Valley Historical Society, I commend the hard-working volunteers who helped preserve this piece of Big Bear Valley’s history.   Veterans Corner   Veterans Legal Seminar The Inland Empire Veterans Stand Down is hosting a Veterans Legal Seminar on Thursday, September 18, at 863 N, D Street San Bernardino, CA 9240. Please call 951-241-6168 to register to attend. The event will begin at 12:30 pm, and attendees will be served a light lunch.   Inaugural Fallen Heroes Memorial Golf Invitational The first annual Fallen Heroes Memorial Golf Invitational will be held on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at the Shandin Hills Golf Club. The event will feature a series of contests to find the golfer with the most accurate swing and the longest drive, as well as team contests! All proceeds from the event will go directly to veterans and their families throughout the Inland Empire Veterans Stand Down outreach efforts.   Registration begins at 6:30am the day of the event, which is located at 3380 Little Mountain Drive, San Bernardino, CA 92405. It will cost $70 to register a single participant, and $240 to register a team of four for the 4-person scramble. For more information, please visit the event website. Read More

Congressman Cook Newsletter: August 26, 2014

2014/08/26

Capitol Update Editorial: U.S. Senate Needs to Get to Work Recent polling has made one thing clear: Americans are unhappy with Congress. I work there myself, and I have to tell you, I agree. Surprisingly, our biggest problem isn’t partisanship, it’s the Senate. While the House of Representatives has passed routine and exceptional legislation this year, the Senate is practically moribund, sitting on 364 bills passed by the House, 252 of which received strong bipartisan support. Moreover, the Senate has passed a budget only once since Barack Obama became president. What’s worse, the Senate’s inaction is based in part on the desire to protect politically vulnerable senators from taking tough votes. That’s unacceptable. It’s time for the do-nothing Senate to get to work and put our country above their careers. The biggest responsibility of Congress is to draft and pass the federal budget, a pivotal check against the authority of the president. Twelve bills in our annual appropriations dictate to federal departments how much can be spent and for what purpose. Having passed seven this year, the House is on track to complete all 12 prior to the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1. Unfortunately, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has yet to allow discussion on any of these bills in the Senate. The short remaining timeline makes it extremely likely that the government will go on life support via a “continuing resolution” just to keep government operating. Rather than debate our spending priorities, Reid’s inaction will lead to a thousand-page budget bill with little review. The American people deserve a better budget process. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to provide for our military. As a retired Marine colonel, I take this responsibility very seriously. The National Defense Authorization Act, which equips our troops and provides for national security, has a 52-year history of timely completion. That consistency is uncommon in Washington. The House passed this year’s version of the bill on May 22. Once again, Reid has refused to allow the Senate version of the bill onto the floor. If this bill expires, our military will no longer have the authority or the resources to protect our nation and its interests. This will only serve to encourage attacks by terrorist groups and rogue nations. In spite of a verbal commitment to provide comprehensive tax reform, the Senate Finance Committee has not provided a single bill that would accomplish this goal. Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., of the House Ways and Means Committee released a draft reform bill to start a discussion with the Senate, but it was met with nothing but partisan criticism. The House has answered the call by passing smaller reforms, renewing the Child Tax Credit, and modernizing the American Opportunity Tax Credit. The Senate has refused to act on even these common-sense tax reforms. Finally, while the House delayed its August district work period in order to pass a border security bill, Reid’s Senate took no action and simply left Washington. The Senate’s abrogation of duty paves the way for the president to issue unilateral and unconstitutional executive orders. This stifles public debate and ignores the American majority which demands fiscal responsibility and a secure border. What some might see as sour grapes from the House perspective, I see as fighting for the future of our country. We’re elected to serve. We’re elected to work. If Reid and other senators in power refuse to work, they must answer to the people. I’m urging House leadership and I urge all Americans to send the message to the Senate: Get to work now. Our country depends on it. This editorial first appeared in the San Bernardino Sun on August 21, 2014. The posted article can be read here. Twitter Town Hall I'll be hosting a Twitter town hall this Thursday, August 28, from 12:00PM to 1:00PM PST.  Anyone wishing to follow this town hall can visit my Twitter page, @RepPaulCook, on Thursday, August 28, between 12:00PM to 1:00PM PST. You do not need a Twitter account to view the town hall. Those wishing to ask questions, however, must have a Twitter account and can tweet me your questions using the hashtag #AskCook. Engaging with constituents across the 8th District remains one of my top priorities. I’m excited to find new ways to connect with the people, families, and communities I represent. Constituents are encouraged to participate by asking questions on Twitter throughout the course of the week. WHO: Representative Paul Cook, constituents WHAT: Cook Twitter Town Hall WHEN: August 28, 2014              12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PST WHERE: Follow along on my Twitter account @RepPaulCook  #AskCook I received a question from one of my constituents, Dana, asking me what I'm doing to help get Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi out of a jail in Mexico. Dana, Thank you for your question. Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has been held in a Mexican jail since March 31 of this year for being in possession of firearms that were all legally registered under his name. The lack of cooperation and understanding from the Mexican government is troubling, and I cosponsored H.R. 620, calling on the Government of Mexico to send him home to the United States. Additionally, I have sent two letters – one to Sgt. Tahmooressi’s lawyer, another to the Mexican judge handling the case – urging the immediate release of Sgt. Tahmooressi. After two tours of duty in Afghanistan, Sgt. Tahmooressi suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He must receive the medical assistance this disorder requires here at home. This United States Marine must not be left behind. I’ll be using these next few weeks in California as a district work period, learning more about what I can do to better serve my constituents. Please send me your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #AskCook, or on Facebook by leaving a comment on my Facebook page. I'll be answering a couple questions each week and featuring them in next week’s newsletter. Be sure to follow me at @RepPaulCook and “like” my Facebook Page for updates.   District Update Visit to St. Mary’s Hospital Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with hospital administrators and constituents at St. Mary’s Hospital in Apple Valley. St. Mary’s offers a wide range of services that include wellness and prevention programs such as diabetes prevention education. The hospital is also home to the only open heart surgery program in the area. The work done by the staff at St. Mary’s is essential to the health and well-being of members of the High Desert community.     Visit to Crafton Hills College Campus Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa is teeming with fresh energy as students prepare for a new school year. Thank you to Dr. Cheryl Marshall, who took me on a tour of the campus’ facilities. As a former educator, it was great to be back on a college campus! I was excited to see the site of the future Public Safety and Allied Health Complex, which is set to open next summer. Whether you’re entering college as a new student, or returning to complete the next step of your education, I wish you all the best of luck. Study hard and make us all proud!   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. Victor Valley College: Veterans Services With the start of the new academic year approaching, it's important for our veterans going back to school to be aware of the veterans’ services offered on their campuses. Victor Valley College offers veterans’ services to help all student veterans, active duty military members, and VA dependents meet their educational and career goals. Veterans are eligible for certain benefits, such as priority class enrollment during the four years immediately after discharge from active duty. For more information, please visit the Victor Valley College Veterans Services Resource Page. Operation Take Charge The San Bernardino Vet Center will be hosting its monthly Vet2Vet Empowerment Connect event entitled “Operation Take Charge.” The purpose of this event is to help veterans get acclimated with the VA process, familiarize themselves with the Veteran & Family Member Services & Benefits, and to connect them with readjustment counselors. The event will be hosted from 3:30pm-4:30pm on Thursday, September 04, 2014, at the San Bernardino Vet Center: 1325 E. Cooley Dr., Suite 101, Colton, CA 92324. For more information, please call the San Bernardino Vet Center at (909) 801-5762.   Veterans History Project The Veterans History Project, formed in 2000, invites veterans of all wars to submit first-hand accounts of their experiences during their time in service. These personal accounts will be preserved and made accessible for future generations to learn about the wars in which the United States was involved from the men and women who fought in them. Additionally, U.S. citizen civilians who were involved in the war effort (i.e. war industry workers, medical volunteers, etc.) may also submit their personal accounts. For more information, please visit the project’s website.   Read More

US Senate Needs to Get To Work: Paul Cook

2014/08/22

Recent polling has made one thing clear: Americans are unhappy with Congress. I work there myself, and I have to tell you, I agree. Surprisingly, our biggest problem isn’t partisanship, it’s the Senate. While the House of Representatives has passed routine and exceptional legislation this year, the Senate is practically moribund, sitting on 364 bills passed by the House, 252 of which received strong bipartisan support. Moreover, the Senate has passed a budget only once since Barack Obama became president. What’s worse, the Senate’s inaction is based in part on the desire to protect politically vulnerable senators from taking tough votes. That’s unacceptable. It’s time for the do-nothing Senate to get to work and put our country above their careers. The biggest responsibility of Congress is to draft and pass the federal budget, a pivotal check against the authority of the president. Twelve bills in our annual appropriations dictate to federal departments how much can be spent and for what purpose. Having passed seven this year, the House is on track to complete all 12 prior to the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1. Unfortunately, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has yet to allow discussion on any of these bills in the Senate. The short remaining timeline makes it extremely likely that the government will go on life support via a “continuing resolution” just to keep government operating. Rather than debate our spending priorities, Reid’s inaction will lead to a thousand-page budget bill with little review. The American people deserve a better budget process. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to provide for our military. As a retired Marine colonel, I take this responsibility very seriously. The National Defense Authorization Act, which equips our troops and provides for national security, has a 52-year history of timely completion. That consistency is uncommon in Washington. The House passed this year’s version of the bill on May 22. Once again, Reid has refused to allow the Senate version of the bill onto the floor. If this bill expires, our military will no longer have the authority or the resources to protect our nation and its interests. This will only serve to encourage attacks by terrorist groups and rogue nations. In spite of a verbal commitment to provide comprehensive tax reform, the Senate Finance Committee has not provided a single bill that would accomplish this goal. Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., of the House Ways and Means Committee released a draft reform bill to start a discussion with the Senate, but it was met with nothing but partisan criticism. The House has answered the call by passing smaller reforms, renewing the Child Tax Credit, and modernizing the American Opportunity Tax Credit. The Senate has refused to act on even these common-sense tax reforms. Finally, while the House delayed its August district work period in order to pass a border security bill, Reid’s Senate took no action and simply left Washington. The Senate’s abrogation of duty paves the way for the president to issue unilateral and unconstitutional executive orders. This stifles public debate and ignores the American majority which demands fiscal responsibility and a secure border. What some might see as sour grapes from the House perspective, I see as fighting for the future of our country. We’re elected to serve. We’re elected to work. If Reid and other senators in power refuse to work, they must answer to the people. I’m urging House leadership and I urge all Americans to send the message to the Senate: Get to work now. Our country depends on it. Rep. Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa, represents California’s 8th Congressional District. Read More

Congressman Cook Newsletter: August 19, 2014

2014/08/20

Capitol Update California Droughts An article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times reported that the latest U.S. Drought Map report has drought levels listed as ‘severe’ across 99.8% of the California. Earlier this year, I cosponsored H.R. 3964, the "Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act,” to help end the water crisis in California. This vital legislation addresses the drought in California by cutting through the bureaucratic red tape that prevents timely water delivery to southern California. For years, California has been in a man-made drought as a result of federal regulations and environmental lawsuits. The recent lack of rainfall has severely exacerbated this drought.  This bill restores some water deliveries, ensures a reliable water supply, and saves taxpayer money by eliminating unnecessary government regulations. It’s possible to protect the environment while ensuring that California farmers and communities have access to a safe and reliable water supply. This bill restores balance to California water policy. H.R. 3964 was passed by the House but has stalled in the U.S. Senate. It’s time for the Senate to step up and do what’s right. California can’t afford to wait any longer. Updating the Endangered Species Act Earlier this summer, I voted in support of H.R. 4315, the “Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act.” This bill focuses on sensible, targeted updates to the Endangered Species Act to increase transparency and improve species recovery. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was crafted in 1973 to preserve, protect, and recover key domestic species. Since the law has been enacted, 1,500 species and sub-species have been listed. Today, the law is failing to achieve its primary purpose of species recovery; only two percent of all listed species have recovered. This legislation helps update the ESA and bring it into the 21st Century by making the law more effective for species and people. It requires data used by federal agencies for ESA listing decisions to be made publically available and accessible through the internet and also requires the federal government to disclose state data used prior to an ESA listing decision.  Under this legislation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be required to track, report to Congress, and make available online the federal taxpayer funds used to respond to ESA, the number of employees dedicated to ESA litigation, and attorneys’ fees awarded in the course of ESA lawsuits.  Finally, this bill prioritizes species protection and tax payer dollars by placing reasonable caps on attorneys’ fees to make the ESA consistent with existing federal law. Too often the ESA serves special interests who want to block economic growth rather than save endangered species. This good government bill brings this act into the 21st century by improving transparency and protecting taxpayer money. District Update Twitter Town Hall I’m pleased to announce that I'll be hosting a Twitter Town Hall on Thursday, August 28, from 12:00PM to 1:00PM PST.  Anyone wishing to follow this town hall can visit my Twitter page, @RepPaulCook, on Thursday, August 28, between 12:00PM to 1:00PM PST. You do not need a Twitter account to view the Town Hall. Those wishing to ask questions, however, must have a Twitter account and can tweet me your questions using the hashtag #AskCook. Engaging with constituents across the 8th District remains one of my top priorities. I’m excited to find new ways to connect with the people, families, and communities I’m proud to represent. Constituents are encouraged to participate by asking questions on Twitter throughout the course of the week. WHO: Representative Paul Cook, constituents WHAT: Cook Twitter Town Hall WHEN: August 28, 2014              12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PST WHERE: Follow along on my Twitter account @RepPaulCook Salute to America Event Last week, I attended the Victor Valley chapter of the Women’s Council of Realtors’ “Salute to America” event. It was great meeting with hundreds of attendees including local realtors and business owners. Hard-working men and women such as these play a vital role in keeping our local economies strong and vibrant. While at the event, I had the pleasure of bumping into one of my former Apple Valley Office Interns. A portion of the event's proceeds are going to the home of a local Barstow veteran. High Desert Job Fair Last week, members of my staff attended the 2014 High Desert Job Fair. The job fair was sponsored by the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board. I'm excited that the fair brought in large numbers of people and had a strong showing by prospective local employers.  Veterans Corner VEG – Therapeutic Garden for Disabled American Veterans Earlier this summer, members of Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Chapter 12, partnered with the Home Depot Foundation to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to over a thousand homeless veterans across the county.  Working out of a three-quarter-acre space in the Rick Speicher Family Memorial Park in San Bernardino, the effort by the DAV not only provided fresh produce for San Bernardino’s homeless vets, but also served as a therapeutic outlet to help combat veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder and self-imposed isolation.  As a veteran, I applaud efforts these efforts by the community to help our veterans in need. I will continue to fight to fix our nation’s broken VA programs. Read More

Congressman Cook Newsletter: August 12, 2014

2014/08/12

Capitol Update  U.S. Air Strikes in Iraq Iraq is on the verge of a full scale sectarian conflict as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made significant gains during its offensive in Northern Iraq. ISIS has captured a number of cities, oil refineries, and a major dam that provides electricity to the region and could be used to flood major cities in Iraq. ISIS has also been abducting women and children, forcing religious minorities, including Christians, to convert to Islam or face execution, and carrying out suicide bombings and other attacks throughout Iraq. The deteriorating security situation and humanitarian crisis resulted in the U.S. conducting several airstrikes against ISIS. Additionally, the U.S. conducted a series of airdrops to provide food and water to ISIS victims who fled to the mountains to escape ISIS. This is in addition to the U.S. military advisors already providing assistance to the Iraqi military and the increased security presence at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.     District Updates Meetings with Mountain Community after Storms Last week, I met withresidents of Mt. Baldy and Forest Falls to assess damage done to homes andproperty by mudslides over the past few days. The storms have destroyed homes and properties throughout the area and have left thousands stranded without essential services. Local residents were out in force helping clear debris from homes and neighborhood streets. What I saw last week was an inspiring display of compassion and kindness amidst all the destruction.  The citizens of these communities demonstrated strength and character in the face of adversity by coming together to begin the process of rebuilding. Neighbors came to the aid of neighbors. Volunteers, non-profit organizations, church congregations, and local and state officials joined in to help those most heavily affected by the mudslides. In the coming days my staff and I will be closely monitoring this situation, and we’ll do all we can to assist in the rebuilding of these communities. If you should have any questions, please contract my Apple Valley District Office at 760-247-1815.   Local Colleges Appoint New Leadership Recently, both Copper Mountain College (CMC) and Victorville Valley College (VVC) appointed new presidents. Last month, VVC hired Roger Wagner to the position of President and Superintendent. The appointment to his new position at VVC is Wagner’s latest step in his long, successful career in education. Wagner had previously served as the President of CMC. Replacing Wagner at CMC will be Jeff Cummings. Before his move to CMC, Cummings was the executive dean of academic affairs at the College of Redwoods in Eureka.  #AskPaul ! This week, one of my Constituents, Bill, asked me, “What do you think about the possible Constitutional Amendment to control the amount of money people can give to someone in a campaign?” Bill, I’m a strong supporter of the First Amendment, and believe that the right to free speech is one of the most sacred protections we have as Americans. Just as Americans can debate their political beliefs in public forums, they now have the ability to provide financial support to the candidate that they believe will best represent them and their beliefs. I believe that such a constitutional amendment would mute the ability of Americans to make their voices heard. We need more free speech, not less. I’ll be using these next few weeks in California as a district work period, learning more about what I can do to better serve my constituents. Please send me your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #AskPaul, or on Facebook by leaving a comment on my Facebook page. I will be answering a couple questions each week and featuring them in next week’s newsletter. Be sure to follow me at @RepPaulCook and “like” my Facebook Page for updates.   Veterans Corner VA Announces New Grants to Help End Veterans Homelessness The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced that it will be awarding $300 million in grants for veterans and their families who are homeless or are at-risk for becoming homeless. These grants will be allocated to non-profits, community agencies, and consumer cooperatives that work to promote housing stability for low-income veteran families. The funding will go to provide improved outreach, case management, and assistance in securing VA benefits. More information about VA’s homeless programs is available at www.va.gov/homeless.  Details about the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program are online at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp. Veterans Job Fair On Friday, September 19, 2014, the Jessie Turner Center in Fontana will be hosting a Veterans Job Fair from 9:30am to 2pm. This event will feature a variety of employment opportunities, including representatives from over 50 veteran-friendly. The job fair will be open to all job seekers, both veteran and non-veteran. Come dressed to impress, and be sure to have copies of your resume and cover letter ready. 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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