Paul Cook

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Rep. Paul Cook Votes to Reform VA

2014/07/30

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) voted in support of H.R. 3230 - Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014. This bill, which passed the House with wide bipartisan support, is the result of an agreement reached between the House and Senate to reform the Veterans’ Administration (VA). This reform bill will reduce wait times, improve care, and provide accountability by fixing three important areas of the VA. First, this bill allows veterans to seek care from the private sector if they live forty miles away from a VA medical facility or have been assigned a wait time longer than thirty days. This will give veterans access to quality care within a reasonable timeframe. It will also improve the quality of care by providing rehabilitation, quality of life, and community integration services to veterans with traumatic brain injuries and will improve the delivery of care to veterans who experienced military sexual trauma. Second, this bill will bring accountability to the VA by giving the Secretary authority to fire Senior Executive Service Employees for poor performance or misconduct. It also reduces bonuses given to VA employees by $40 million every year.  Despite the multitude of serious and even deadly issues at the VA, senior executives were awarded millions in bonuses. This provision will ensure that these funds are applied to veteran care, not bureaucrats. Finally, this bill requires public universities to guarantee veterans receive in-state tuition while using the G.I. Bill. It also provides full Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after 9/11. Cook said, “The VA has failed our veterans for too long, and this bill holds them accountable while providing the reforms and resources needed to care for America’s veterans. I’m thrilled to have supported a bill that takes a huge step in the right direction for our veterans. I’ll continue to work to ensure the VA never again forgets its mission to serve our nation’s heroes.” 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 Votes to bring Endangered Species Act into the 21st Century

2014/07/29

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) 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 as well as requiring 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. Cook said, “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.” 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: July 29, 2014

2014/07/29

Capitol Update EDITORIAL: It's our turn to save veterans' lives at home Veterans of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts bear both the physical and mental scars of war. As a combat veteran, I understand this all too well. Our nation has a moral responsibility to ensure the brave men and women who have defended our country receive the care they need. Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and other combat-related mental trauma deserve access to high-quality mental health treatment. Unfortunately, too often we fail to provide the care they need to sustain and thrive in civilian life. Far too many of our brave service members are lost to suicide, often stemming from the invisible mental trauma of combat and conflict. It’s estimated that approximately 20 veterans commit suicide every day. This means over 7,000 veterans die from suicide each year, a death toll that far exceeds even the worst year for American casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. It’s shameful that our troops survive tours of duty overseas only to die back home. Over the past months, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been rocked by revelations that scheduling and wait lists for medical services have been manipulated, and veterans are dying while waiting for the care they’ve earned. As these abuses are systemic, similar problems likely exist within the VA’s mental health department. This is why the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has held hearings to shine a light on the often overlooked problem of mental health. I’ve participated in countless committee hearings, but none hit me quite as hard as last week’s hearing that addressed veteran suicide. During the hearing, I learned that veterans seeking mental health care typically wait six months for an appointment. If the veterans admit they’re contemplating suicide, the wait time is still three months. This is entirely unacceptable; a person serious about suicide needs immediate attention. It’s no wonder we lose 20 veterans to suicide every day. Veterans experiencing mental health issues while transitioning to civilian life often avoid seeking treatment out of fear of being stigmatized by employers or because they believe it is viewed as a weakness. Additionally, many veterans who do seek treatment find it difficult to open up to someone without military experience. I believe the mental health workers at the VA are well trained and qualified, but many of them have never served in uniform, let alone on the battlefield. Veterans are a unique population that requires greater access to peer-to-peer counseling, veteran advocates and improved forums to work with other veterans in a group setting. While these resources exist, it is the job of Congress and the VA to make sure they are efficient and effective. To date, we have fallen far short of this laudable goal. There are no easy solutions to improving veterans’ mental health care, but we owe it to them to keep working on this issue. I’ll continue my work as an advocate for these heroes in Congress and will push my colleagues in the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to provide the oversight, resources and reforms the VA needs. Our veterans were willing to give their lives to keep us safe, and now it’s time for America to save their lives here at home. This editorial first appeared in the Press Enterprise on July 23, 2014. This posted article can be read here. VA Crisis Update I’m pleased to announce the House and Senate have reached an agreement on a comprehensive bill to reform the Veterans’ Administration (VA). The bill will do the following: Allows veterans to seek care from the private sector if they live 40 miles away from a VA medical facility or have been assigned a wait time longer than thirty days;  Authorizes the VA to fire Senior Executive Service Employees for poor performance or misconduct;  Reduces bonuses given to VA employees by $40 million every year;  Provides rehabilitation, quality of life, and community integration services to veterans with complex-mild to severe traumatic brain injury;  Improves the delivery of care to veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma as well as care for Native Hawaiian and Native American veterans;  Requires public universities to give veterans in-state tuition while using the G.I. Bill regardless of what state they reside in;  Provides full Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after 9/11;  The VA has failed our veterans for too long and this bill holds them accountable while providing the reforms and resources needed to care for America’s veterans. It will be voted on later this week. Please stay tuned for more information to come in next week’s newsletter. Access to Higher Education Expanded Congressman Cook voted in support of H.R. 4812, the “Student and Family Tax Simplification Act.” With tuition prices at an all-time high, this bill helps ordinary Americans afford a higher education. This bill consolidates four current tax benefits (the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Hope Scholarship credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the college tuition deduction) into one new, simplified American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). It gives students and their families a 100 percent tax credit for the first $2,000 of their educational expenses and a 25 percent credit for the next $2,000 of educational expenses. This will provide a total deduction of up to $2,500. The first $1,500 of the tax credit is refundable, which will provide meaningful tax relief for even the poorest students. This will help more students pursue their dreams of attending college and prepare them for the workforce. Additionally, students attending college on Pell Grants will no longer be penalized by having grant money count as income for tax purposes. This will reduce the number of students who must pay taxes out of pocket for receiving Pell Grant money, allowing them to spend their money on books and supplies, rather than spending it paying the Internal Revenue Service. Cook said, “I’m proud to support this common sense bill that simplifies the tax code to benefit students. This will prevent financial barriers from blocking students’ pursuit of the education they need to succeed. This bill eases some of these financial burdens and encourages future job and economic growth.” More Educational Innovation for Classrooms Congressman Cook voted in support of H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act. This bill supports innovation across our nation’s higher education institutions. Currently, our nation’s colleges are developing new models of education that can measure students’ actual learning rather than just the time they spend in the classroom. New educational opportunities will allow students to meet specific personal and financial needs. Unfortunately, outdated federal policies do not allow this to happen. H.R. 3136 corrects the innovation gap that exists by directing the Secretary of Education to implement competency-based education demonstration projects. This bill will provide accountability by requiring an annual evaluation of each project in terms of financial obstacles and legal barriers. It will also give flexibility to institutions that want to provide students a more personalized, cost-effective education. Cook said, “Too many Americans are struggling to turn the dream of a higher education into reality. This bill transforms higher education and encourages more innovation, enhances transparency, and helps students make wise financial decisions. As a former college educator, I understand the need to have an education system that reflects the real needs of our local communities. Education is a long term investment, and this is a win for students.” People Are Not For Sale Congressman Cook voted in support of H.R. 5135, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act. This legislation works to better prevent and intervene when trafficking or attempted trafficking occurs while opening up additional resources for survivors who are working to recover. This bill will launch a review by the Interagency Task-Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking that will look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities. The review will be done in consultation with non-governmental organizations and will work to identify and develop best practices to prevent trafficking. It requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed. Finally, H.R.5135 improves existing Department of Justice grants by allowing the grants to also support shelters for survivors. Currently, there are just 200 beds available in the United States for underage victims. Congressman Paul Cook was a cosponsor of H.R. 5135. District Update From the Desert to DC – By: Justin (DC Intern) “Having spent the majority of my life in the High Desert, and the entirety of it in California, moving to Washington D.C. for the summer was a monumental change for me. Not really knowing what to expect when I flew out here in late spring, I felt overwhelmed with both nerves and excitement for what I was about to get into. For as long as I can remember, I‘ve always been fascinated with Congress and this internship  finally gave me a real chance to answer some of my pent up curiosity. Everything felt like it was happening so fast, but I couldn’t wait to get started and see how it all really works from an insider perspective. "Working as an intern this summer for Congressman Cook gave me an incredibly valuable firsthand look at how our legislative body truly operates. Having studied Political Science for three years at the California State University of Fullerton, I came into the office my first day with what I thought was a pretty substantial understanding of the political process; however, I quickly realized there is much more to it than what you read in books or learn in class. Congress is a complex, yet deliberate system that relies on so many individuals working together to make things happen. The people I have had the pleasure to work with are extremely devoted and passionate about serving the public, and genuinely care about the people they work for. This summer has been one of the best learning experiences of my life and I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to help serve the people of California’s 8th district, my home.”   Job Fair in Victorville The San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board will host the 2014 High Desert Regional Job Fair on August 13, 2014 from 9:00AM to 1:00PM at the Hilton Garden Inn. This event will offer business owners the chance to meet, interview and hire high-quality, experienced workers to fill full and part-time positions, organizers say. The job fair is made possible by the collaboration between the High Desert cities, Chamber of Commerce offices, El Dorado Broadcasters, and the Daily Press. The address to the Hilton Garden Inn is 12603 Mariposa Road in Victorville, CA 92395. If you are an employer interested in taking part, register no later than August 11, 2014 by clicking here.  Veterans Corner Employment Development Department The Employment Development Department (EDD) assists veterans and their eligible spouses in maximizing their employment and training opportunities. Veterans can use many resources designed to help in their search for employment. The EDD veterans’ representatives specialize in assisting veterans in their efforts to return to work and are located in many local EDD offices. Services provided include a veteran 24-hour priority hold on all job listings, customized job search assistance, job fairs, employer recruitments, and other events and resources. Veterans are encouraged to schedule an appointment with an EDD veterans’ representative for personalized services and assistance. More information can be found here. Please be sure to follow me on Twitter (@RepPaulCook), find me on Facebook (Facebook.com/RepPaulCook), and subscribe to my YouTube Channel (YouTube.com/RepPaulCook)- See you there! Read More

Rep. Paul Cook Votes to Expand Access to Higher Education

2014/07/24

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) voted in support of H.R. 4812, the “Student and Family Tax Simplification Act.” With tuition prices at an all-time high, this bill helps ordinary Americans afford a higher education. This bill consolidates four current tax benefits (the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Hope Scholarship credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the college tuition deduction) into one new, simplified American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). It gives students and their families a 100% tax credit for the first $2,000 of their educational expenses and a 25% credit for the next $2,000 of educational expenses. This will provide a total deduction of up to $2,500. The first $1,500 of the tax credit is refundable, which will provide meaningful tax relief for even the poorest students. This will help more students pursue their dreams of attending college and prepare them for the workforce. Additionally, students attending college on Pell Grants will no longer be penalized by having grant money count as income for tax purposes. This will reduce the number of students who must pay taxes out of pocket for receiving Pell Grant money, allowing them to spend their money on books and supplies, rather than spending it paying the Internal Revenue Service. Cook said, “I’m proud to support this common sense bill that simplifies the tax code to benefit students. This will prevent financial barriers from blocking students’ pursuit of the education they need to succeed. This bill eases some of these financial burdens and encourages future job and economic growth.” 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 for More Educational Innovation

2014/07/23

  WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R - Apple Valley) voted in support of H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act. This bill supports innovation across our nation’s higher education institutions. Currently, our nation’s higher education institutions are developing new models of education that can measure students’ actual learning rather than just the time they spend in the classroom. New educational opportunities will allow students to meet specific personal and financial needs. Unfortunately, outdated federal policies do not allow this to happen. H.R. 3136 corrects the innovation gap that exists by directing the Secretary of Education to implement competency-based education demonstration projects. This bill will provide accountability by requiring an annual evaluation of each project in terms of financial obstacles and legal barriers. It will also give flexibility to institutions that want to provide students a more personalized, cost-effective education. Cook said, “Too many Americans are struggling to turn the dream of a higher education into reality. This bill transforms higher education and encourages more innovation, enhances transparency, and helps students make wise financial decisions. As a former college educator, I understand the need to have an education system that reflects the real needs of our local communities. Education is a long term investment, and this is a win for students.” 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: July 22, 2014

2014/07/22

Capitol Update Valley Voices: What’s Really Going on in Israel?  Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, recently began launching thousands of rockets into Israeli cities. Israel has responded by launching airstrikes targeting weapons caches, rocket production facilities, and rocket launch sites and sending ground troops into the strip.   This recent outbreak of violence can be attributed to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, one of whom was an American citizen, by Palestinian terrorists likely with ties to Hamas. Following this unprovoked attack, three radical Israelis captured and killed a Palestinian teen in a revenge killing for the murder of the Israeli teens. While the three Israelis responsible for this murder were quickly arrested and charged by the Israeli police, the Palestinian terrorists who murdered the Israeli teens remain at large.   Israel has come under international criticism for its response to the Hamas attacks because of reports of numerous civilian casualties. Blaming Israel for these deaths fails to recognize the tremendous efforts Israel makes to inform the Palestinians about the time and location of planned strikes. Before strikes, Israeli authorities frequently call, send text messages, and drop leaflets urging residents in the areas to be targeted to evacuate. The only locations targeted by the Israeli military are those directly linked to the rockets being launched at Israel, which Hamas intentionally places in civilian areas.   In contrast to Israeli efforts to reduce civilian casualties, Hamas commanders continue to call on Palestinian civilians to ignore the Israeli warnings and remain in the targeted locations. Hamas uses the Palestinian population as human shields, often placing weapons caches and terrorist command centers in hospitals and next to kindergartens. At the same time, as many as 100 rockets fired by Hamas targeting Israel have landed in the Gaza Strip, contributing to Palestinian casualties. Hamas also openly admitted to launching rockets targeting an Israeli nuclear power plant and succeeded in disabling a conventional power plant in Israel that supplies power to the Gaza Strip, further worsening the humanitarian situation for Palestinians. The contrast is clear: Israel takes every effort to protect civilians on both sides, while Hamas’ rockets are being fired indiscriminately at both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.   Recently, Israel agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt and halted all strikes on the Gaza Strip. Hamas rejected this agreement and launched more than 30 rockets during the six hours of the ceasefire, forcing the Israeli military to resume its offensive. In the past two weeks, Hamas has launched over 1,200 rockets towards Israel, with over 1,000 landing on Israeli territory. Over six million Israeli citizens live within range of Hamas’ rockets, which are striking every major city in the country. The Israeli attacks in Gaza are strictly in self-defense and their strategic goal is to put an end to these deadly attacks. Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East and the region’s only democracy. They are fighting the same sort of radical militants that carry out terrorist attacks against the U.S. Israel shares the same values as the U.S. and are a pillar of stability in an unstable part of the world. Our continued support for Israel in putting an end to the terrorist threat from Hamas is in the interest of the U.S. and our shared allies.    This editorial was first published in the Victorville Daily Press. You can read it here.    Bipartisan Wildfire Prevention Act Last week, Congressman Cook introduced legislation to help limit and potentially prevent the damaging effects of future wildfires. Under the current system, the federal government awards grants to prepare for future disasters such as hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, but does not cover devastating wildfires that burn through our communities. This bill would change that inequity and ensure that wildfires are treated just like other disasters when it comes to receiving grant funding. Dry, arid areas, like our own, are especially susceptible to these wildfires and pose a serious threat to the well-being and livelihood of our citizens. If we can more effectively prepare for these deadly fires, we will be able to significantly limit the destructive effects of these natural disasters. The Bipartisan Wildfire Prevention Act will effectively ensure a safer tomorrow for our local communities, the nation at large, and firefighters like the 20 newest Inyo Interagency Hotshot Crew members. Thank you for your service and welcome to the district!  The Honor Flight Act  Today, Congressman Cook voted in support of H.R. 4812, the “Honor Flight Act.” This bill passed the United States House of Representatives with wide bipartisan support. Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization that works with Southwest Airlines and other non-profits to transport American veterans to Washington to visit memorials built and dedicated in honor of their service. Currently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) supports the Honor Flight Network by expediting the screening process for veterans. H.R. 4812 makes this permanent.   Cook said, “This bill is about much more than expedited screening for veterans; it’s about showing these veterans the respect and appreciation they deserve as they travel to their memorials. I’ve been to the memorials as the Honor Flight buses pull up, and I can’t even begin to put into words the gratitude in the faces of these American heroes as they are welcomed to their memorials. I’m proud to have voted for this bill.”   For more information on Honor Flight Network, please visit: http://www.honorflight.org/   District Update Job Fair in Victorville  The San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board will host the 2014 High Desert Regional Job Fair on August 13, 2014 from 9:00AM to 1:00PM at the Hilton Garden Inn.  This event will offer business owners the chance to meet, interview and hire high-quality, experienced workers to fill full and part-time positions, organizers say. The job fair is made possible by the collaboration between the High Desert cities, Chamber of Commerce offices, El Dorado Broadcasters, and the Daily Press. The address to the Hilton Garden Inn is 12603 Mariposa Road in Victorville, CA 92395.   If you are an employer interested in taking part, register no later than August 11, 2014 here.     Joshua Tree National Park hosts over 1.4 million visitors in 2013  Congratulations to Joshua Tree National Park on hosting more than 1.4 million visitors in 2013! According to the park service’s economic report, 2013 surpassed all expectations, producing 500 full and part time jobs in both the private and public sector, while generating $29.4 million in revenue.   2014 is projected to do even better providing a needed economic boost for the Joshua Tree community. As the park has done in the past, it will continue to prosper and generate support for the surrounding community and economy.   Veterans Corner  Information for Military Retires with Combat- Related Disability Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) is a program that was created for disability and non-disability military retirees with combat-related disabilities.  It is a tax-free entitlement that that is paid each month. To qualify for CRSC you must be entitled to and/or receiving military retired pay, be rated at least 10 percent disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), waive your VA pay for retired pay, and file a CRSC application with you Branch of Service. For more information please visit here or call my Apple Valley District Office at 760-247-1815. Please be sure to follow me on Twitter (@RepPaulCook), find me on Facebook(Facebook.com/RepPaulCook), and subscribe to my YouTube Channel (YouTube.com/RepPaulCook)- See you there!  Read More

Rep. Paul Cook Votes To Support Honor Flight

2014/07/22

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) voted in support of H.R. 4812, the “Honor Flight Act.” This bill passed the United States House of Representatives with wide bipartisan support. Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization that works with Southwest Airlines and other non-profits to transport American veterans to Washington to visit memorials built and dedicated in honor of their service. Currently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) supports the Honor Flight Network by expediting the screening process for veterans. H.R. 4812 makes this permanent. Cook said, “This bill is about much more than expedited screening for veterans; it’s about showing these veterans the respect and appreciation they deserve as they travel to their memorials. I’ve been to the memorials as the Honor Flight buses pull up, and I can’t even begin to put into words the gratitude in the faces of these American heroes as they are welcomed to their memorials. I’m proud to have voted for this bill.” 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: July 15, 2014

2014/07/15

Capitol Update It's time to Expedite the Return of Immigrant Children to Their Home Countries Last week, Congressman Cook cosponsored legislation to close a loophole under current immigration law that has prevented children from countries non-contiguous with the US from being quickly reunited with their families in their home countries.   Under current law, unaccompanied children from Mexico or Canada can be screened within 48 hours and quickly repatriated back across the border if they are not trafficking victims nor claiming asylum. However, children from countries that are not contiguous with the US must go through a time-consuming legal process. In fact, these children are currently waiting 578 days on average for a hearing. Cook said, “It’s unconscionable that kids are waiting nearly 600 days for a hearing. We should use the same process that is used with Mexico and Canada to return Central American kids to their families. This important bill is a big step toward securing our border and clearing the backlog of immigration casework. It'll also save taxpayers a lot of money.”   This bill was introduced earlier today and could be considered later this month.   Grant to Expand Veterans Access to Healthcare Coming to Bishop  Yesterday, Congressman Cook announced that the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8988 in Bishop, California will receive an $80,000 grant to improve local veterans’ access to healthcare in Inyo and Mono Counties. Veterans living in rural areas often have trouble finding transportation to VA medical centers for care. Many are forced to travel hundreds of miles to receive VA care.  This grant will assist approximately 849 veterans in these counties.   Cook said, “As the representative of California’s largest rural district, I’ve heard from veterans who are forced drive up to five hours for VA medical care. This grant will help some of our nation’s finest men and women get the medical care they’ve earned. VFW Post 8988 provides exceptional services for veterans in Bishop, and I’m proud to see this grant awarded to it.”   We must Invest in American Small Businesses Congressman Cook voted in support of H.R. 4718, a bill to make equipment depreciation permanent for American small businesses. This bill will open the door for economic growth by giving small businesses the stability and certainty they need to create jobs. Under current tax law, a small business owner may depreciate up to 50 percent of the cost of the equipment necessary to keep their business competitive in the first year. H.R. 4718 will make permanent this section of the tax code, allowing small businesses to modernize their infrastructure and create a stable environment for business owners to make capital purchases. This will allow for a more efficient production of American products and stronger job growth. Cook said, “As we’ve seen, short term tax policy is bad for businesses and bad for economic growth. This legislation brings stability to America’s job creators. It gives them the ability to plan ahead for growing their business and reinvesting capital to create new jobs. I’m proud to support this important jobs bill.”   Expand STEM Education to Include Computer Science Yesterday, Congressman Cook voted in support of H.R. 5031, “the STEM Education Act.” This bipartisan bill authorizes education programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). This bill improves K-12 competency by adding computer science to the list of disciplines. Cook said, “To ensure a strong economic future for our country, we have to make sure our students are learning the skills they need to compete on a global level. This important bill gives students the skills they need for a successful future and will help ensure our country remains a global leader in science. ”   District Update Transportation Options and Independence Resource Fair On August 6, 2014 from 8:00AM to 12:00PM, there will be a Transportation Options and Independence Resource Jobs Fair taking place at the main entrance to the Veteran Affairs Medical Center Loma Linda Hospital.  There will be refreshments, information, and giveaways. Please see the flier below for more information. Apple Valley Storm Looks to Take Gold at National Cup With the world still buzzing from the recent World Cup finish in Brazil, our very own Apple Valley Storm team is geared up to take on the top teams the United States has to offer at the National Cup in Greensboro, North Carolina. The under-17 boys team is looking to make their way onto the national stage for the first time in team history, after pummeling the competition at the Western Regionals this past month. Competing in a national competition is an honor in itself, but Coach Casarez has higher aspirations for his club stating bluntly in a recent interview that “We’re going there to win nationals.” After the convincing fashion in which the team won their recent qualifier in Davis, California by outscoring their competition 8-0 in the four game tournament, it is no wonder they feel good about their chances taking gold at the National Cup XIII. Veterans Corner  UPDATE: Audit of the High Desert Vet Center  The Veteran Affairs internal audit into client service issues at the High Desert Vet Center is completed and the report has been sent to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Human Resource officials for review. This audit was prompted after my office received several complaints from veterans about the service they received at the High Desert Veteran Resource Center.  My district staff in Apple Valley immediately met with these veterans and their families, heard their concerns, and demanded that the VA be held accountable for the behavior of their employees. I’m eager to see the results of this audit so that we can improve services for veterans in the High Desert.   As your Representative in Congress, I believe it's my duty to ensure that veterans receive the best medical treatment available from the VA, and I'll work tirelessly to advocate on their behalf.  If you're experiencing difficulties with obtaining your benefits from the VA, please contact my Apple Valley office at 760-247-1815.   Please click here to read more about the High Desert Vet Center in the Victorville Daily Press: http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20140710/NEWS/140719988/12967/LIFESTYLE     Read More

Rep. Paul Cook Votes To Expand STEM Education

2014/07/14

  WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) voted in support of H.R. 5031, “the STEM Education Act.” This bipartisan bill authorizes education programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). This bill improve K-12 competency by adding computer science to the list of disciplines. Cook said, “To ensure a strong economic future for our country, we have to make sure our students are learning the skills they need to compete on a global level. This important bill gives students the skills they need for a successful future and will help ensure our country remains a global leader in science. ”  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 Announces Grant to Expand Veterans Access to Healthcare

2014/07/14

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) announced that the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8988 in Bishop, California will receive an $80,000 grant to improve local veterans’ access to healthcare in Inyo and Mono Counties. Veterans living in rural areas often have trouble finding transportation to VA medical centers for care. Many are forced to travel hundreds of miles to receive VA care This grant will assist approximately 849 veterans in these counties.  Cook said, “As the representative of California’s largest rural district, I’ve heard from veterans who are forced drive up to five hours for VA medical care. This grant will help some of our nation’s finest men and women get the medical care they’ve earned. VFW Post 8988 provides exceptional services for veterans in Bishop, and I’m  proud to see this grant awarded to it.” 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

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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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