Paul Cook

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Congressman Cook Announces Change in Service Academy Information Session

2018/09/14

Congressman Paul Cook announced an informational session for students interested in attending one of the five US Military Service Academies. The meeting date has changed from Tuesday, September 18 to Thursday, September 20  and will be held in the Victorville City Hall Conference Room D from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The no-cost events give attendees the opportunity to learn more about our nation’s five service academies. Representatives from Congressman Cook’s office will be on hand to answer questions regarding requirements and qualifications for entrance to an academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships, military preparatory schools, and congressional nominations.

High school seniors who reside in Congressman Cook’s district and are seeking admission to the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy, or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy for the fall 2019 semester must submit a completed nomination packet to Congressman Cook’s District Office by December 4, 2018. Please note that students interested in attending the U.S. Coast Guard Academy do not need a congressional nomination.

The scheduled information session is as follows:

September 20, 2018
Victorville City Hall
Conference Room D
14343 Civic Drive
Victorville, CA 92392
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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Rep. Cook Votes to Improve Veterans' Care

2018/09/13

WASHINGTON-   Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) voted for HR 5895, which will improve veterans’ care and strengthen oversight at the VA. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly.

HR 5895 improves veterans’ care in several ways. Specifically, it includes provisions to care for seven million patients through the VA, including funds for opioid abuse prevention, mental health, suicide prevention outreach, and rural health initiatives. The bill also modernizes the VA’s electronic health record system and speeds up claim processing for more than 450,000 veterans who are waiting for the compensation they earned.

It also strengthens oversight and accountability to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used to best benefit our veterans by including several measures to hold the VA accountable and address decisions that have wasted money in the past. The bill will require rigorous reporting on the status of VA claims processing and implement stronger oversight and limits on VA construction projects.

Rep. Cook said, “This legislation provides crucial improvements in caring for our veterans, too many of whom are still not getting the care they need. It also puts in place increased oversight at the VA to ensure claims are being processed in a more timely manner and make sure we aren’t wasting dollars on bureaucracy that should be going to our veterans.”

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

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Cook, Sires Express Strong Concern over Recent Guatemalan Actions

2018/09/07

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA-08), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ-08), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, issued the following statement on Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’ recent announcement that he would not renew CICIG’s mandate, the abuse of U.S.-donated military grade vehicles, decision to prevent the return of the CICIG Commissioner to Guatemala, and deteriorating investment climate conditions. 

Chairman Cook and Ranking Member Sires:

“We are deeply troubled by President Morales’ recent decisions. While we respect Guatemala’s sovereignty, the U.S. has, on a bipartisan basis since 2007, supported CICIG’s work to help the Public Ministry prosecute corruption cases and strengthen the rule of law. We continue to support bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill and in the Administration to push for legitimate reforms that will improve CICIG’s effectiveness. CICIG should not remain in Guatemala indefinitely, but we believe CICIG’s work is critical during this time. We have also advocated for Guatemala to improve its investment climate, and recent decisions directly impede those efforts, threatening Guatemalan jobs, and increasing risks of more migration to the U.S.”

“We urge President Morales to reconsider the renewal of CICIG’s mandate and allow the return of the CICIG Commissioner, as these actions threaten U.S. foreign assistance to Guatemala. Further, the unexplainable show of force outside CICIG’s offices and the U.S. embassy using U.S.-donated vehicles also puts future U.S. equipment donations to Guatemala at risk. We note Secretary Pompeo’s call yesterday with President Morales and urge the State Department to continue its longstanding, unequivocal support for CICIG’s anti-corruption work in Guatemala and important CICIG reform efforts.”

*NOTE: On February 14, 2018, Chairman Cook and Ranking Member Sires sent a letter to President Morales urging an improved investment climate and affirming support for CICIG and the Attorney General.

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Rep. Cook Votes for National Security Authorization Bill

2018/07/26

WASHINGTON-   Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) voted for HR 5515, the annual national security authorization bill. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.

The final bill, which was negotiated through both the House and the Senate, has several provisions which restore military readiness, provide for our troops, and protect our national security against threats both at home and abroad.

The bill increases the size of the military, fully funds a 2.6% pay raise for our troops, and extends bonuses for service members in high-demand fields. In addition, the bill provides increased training for our troops, rebuilds critical infrastructure, and makes important bureaucratic reforms to ensure that our military is efficient. It also strengthens cyber defense and prioritizes the readiness of US Cyber Command.

HR 5515 also includes language Rep. Cook specifically proposed including a prohibition on the acquisition of sensitive materials from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. He also successfully pushed for language that highlights the Army’s need to build a large urban training center for large scale exercises that prepare our soldiers to fight in tomorrow’s dense urban environments.  

Rep. Cook said, “I’m proud to have been an integral part of drafting this year’s national security bill. I thank House Armed Services Chairman Thornberry for appointing me to this year’s conference committee. This bill gives our troops the support and resources they deserve and ensures that we are taking steps to ensure military readiness in the face of increased threats. This year’s national security bill also includes language I drafted to advance important projects in my district. I look forward to seeing the President sign it into law.”

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

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Cook Hosts Meeting with the Foreign Trade Minister of Ecuador

2018/07/26

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Paul Cook (CA-08), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, hosted a meeting with Members of Congress and Foreign Trade Minister of Ecuador, Pablo Campana Saenz, to discuss bilateral trade, investment, and energy cooperation, the importance of addressing U.S.-bound illegal drugs and precursor chemicals, China’s activities in the region, and the crises in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Chairman Cook: “Our two countries have greatly improved our ties over the last year. Vice President Pence’s visit last month underscores the value the U.S. places on stronger relations with Ecuador, and I applaud President Moreno’s efforts to tackle corruption, improve conditions for investment and trade, and strengthen our security cooperation. Ecuador possesses huge energy and agriculture opportunities and is a dollarized economy, and I believe that continued efforts to improve legal certainty, tax predictability, and freedom of the press are key for greater U.S. business investment. In the days ahead, I look forward to a greater partnership with Ecuador as we seek to tackle shared security threats and advance democracy and human rights in Venezuela and Nicaragua.”

 

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Rep. Cook Co-sponsors Legislation to Revitalize National Parks

2018/07/25

WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) announced today that he is co-sponsoring the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act of 2018.

This bipartisan legislation establishes the National Park Service and Public Lands Restoration Fund, which would provide mandatory funding for the high-priority deferred maintenance needs that support critical infrastructure and visitor services at our national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands.

Federal land management agencies are facing an extraordinary deferred maintenance backlog which is jeopardizing the safety and quality of visitors’ enjoyment of our national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands. The Department of the Interior’s total deferred maintenance backlog alone currently stands at $16 billion.

The growing maintenance backlog on public lands could cause detrimental economic impacts. Our 417 national parks received over 331 million visitors last year. They also support a robust tourism economy, generating $18.2 billion for our public lands gateway communities in 2017 and supporting 306,000 jobs.

The Fund would draw from all sources of federal energy revenue, onshore and offshore, as well as alternative and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. It may also receive private donations.

Rep. Cook’s 8th Congressional District is home to three National Parks: Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and the Mojave National Preserve. These parks have millions of dollars in deferred maintenance needs that could be addressed by this legislation.

Rep Cook said, “This crucial bipartisan legislation is essential to ensure that our national parks have the resources they need to accommodate visitors. In my district, Joshua Tree National Park set a new attendance record last year with more than 2.8 million visitors. I want to be sure that our national parks remain safe and accessible for everyone to enjoy for years to come. This legislation will help achieve this.”

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

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Cook, Sires, Ros-Lehtinen, and Engel Introduce H.Res.1006 Urging More Action to Resolve Venezuela Crisis

2018/07/20

Washington, D.C.Today, Chairman Paul Cook (CA-08) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Ranking Member Albio Sires (NJ-08) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Chairman Emeritus Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (NY-17) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced H.Res.1006 to condemn the deteriorating situation in Venezuela and the regional humanitarian crisis it has caused, affirm support for the legitimate National Assembly and Supreme Court, and urge further action in support of democracy in Venezuela.

Chairman Cook: “Nicolas Maduro and the PSUV continue their illegitimate reign over Venezuela to the detriment of the country, its people, and neighbors in the region. The humanitarian crisis is horrific, and the continued repression reprehensible. Many countries around the world have joined with the United States to support the Venezuelan people, and this resolution acknowledges those good efforts and urges countries that have so far failed to support democracy in Venezuela to join the international consensus in future action. It is critical that we stand united and unwavering in our support for the legitimate National Assembly and Supreme Court, jointly impose sanctions and visa bans for Maduro officials responsible for this crisis, and coordinate an effective humanitarian response. I also urge President Trump to increase U.S. humanitarian aid, sanctions and public diplomacy efforts to expose the Maduro regime’s corruption, and support for democratic actors in Venezuela.”

Ranking Member Sires: “Maduro is an authoritarian despot who continues to oppress, and disenfranchise the Venezuelan people in an attempt to consolidate and bolster his illegitimate regime. The Venezuelan people, who seek only to exert their democratic rights, suffer from a growing humanitarian crisis which is exacerbated by corruption, economic collapse, and a complete degradation of democracy. The United States must stand shoulder to shoulder with the Venezuelan people, who have fought long and hard to bring democratic principles and stability to Venezuela. This resolution condemns the languishing situation in Venezuela and reaffirms support for Venezuela’s legitimate National Assembly and Supreme Court. The United States must not turn its back on the plight of the Venezuelan people and hold Maduro accountable for his atrocities.”

Chairman Emeritus Ros-Lehtinen: "Every day, the situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate. Repression runs rampant, economic privation is the new normal, and the Maduro regime continues to flaunt the rule of law and instead serve only itself and its enablers. I'm proud to join this resolution alongside my colleagues, Paul, Albio, and Eliot, condemning the oppression of the Venezuelan people and calling on the administration to take more action against those who must live under the yoke of Maduro's tyrannical rule."

Ranking Member Engel: “Venezuela should be the wealthiest country in South America. Instead, its people suffer from massive food and medical shortages, the return of measles and skyrocketing violence – all the result of incredibly flawed government policies. President Maduro has turned Venezuela into a full-fledged dictatorship and rejected humanitarian aid. This resolution makes it clear that Congress continues to stand with the Venezuelan people in their enduring struggle for democracy and an economy that benefits all citizens.”

The text of the resolution can be found HERE.

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Cook Holds Hearing on the Crisis in Nicaragua and Markup of H.Res.981

2018/07/12

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA-08), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, held a Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Nicaraguan Crisis: Next Steps to Advancing Democracy.” The Subcommittee also held a markup and advanced H.Res.981, Condemning the violence, persecution, intimidation, and murders committed by the Government of Nicaragua against its citizens.

Chairman Cook’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

     “For too long, Daniel Ortega has ruled Nicaragua through fear and intimidation, undermined democracy, and enriched himself through systemic corruption. Today, hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans from all sectors of society have said no more. In response, over the last two months Ortega has fought to maintain his control, unleashing his security forces on unarmed citizens and violently suppressing the protests, in what has left close to 300 people dead, including one U.S. citizen. The crisis in Nicaragua is also threatening regional trade, business operations, and the safety of Americans living in Nicaragua. Attempts by the Catholic Church to mediate a peaceful resolution to the conflict have failed, Ortega continues to suppress the people, and Ortega announced over the weekend that he will not hold early elections, as many protestors have urged.

     Just this week, masked government supporters attacked Roman Catholic priests who were seeking to help protesters trapped inside a church. Yesterday, Felix Maradiaga, the Executive Director for a leading think tank in Nicaragua and important pro-democracy advocate, was attacked and physically beaten by Ortega’s thugs in León. I believe his wife is in the audience today, and I just want to say that the U.S. stands in support and solidarity with you and the Nicaraguan people who are seeking to reclaim their freedoms. While some have expressed surprise by the outbreak in violence in what was previously known as the most stable country in Central America, this crisis did not occur overnight. In my view, it is a result of more than a decade of Ortega’s authoritarian rule and built-up resentment from the Nicaraguan people who have seen the Ortega family enrich themselves at the expense of the country.

     Today, Nicaragua remains the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti, and Transparency International ranks Nicaragua as one of the region’s most corrupt countries along with Venezuela and Haiti. In addition, Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, have undermined democratic institutions in Nicaragua, stacked the courts and electoral body with political allies, illegally changed the constitution, eliminated presidential term limits, stripped opposition parties of their legal registration, dismissed opposition lawmakers from the National Assembly, held fraudulent elections, and co-opted many of the country’s television and media outlets to restrict information from reaching citizens.

     In view of these actions and today’s crisis in Nicaragua, we are holding this Subcommittee hearing and markup of House Resolution 981 to examine recent developments and conduct oversight of the Administration’s policies related to Nicaragua. The Trump Administration has rightly responded with strong statements condemning the Ortega regime for committing violence and human rights abuses. The State Department has taken important action to protect U.S. embassy personnel and their families and issue visa restrictions on Nicaraguan government officials. The Treasury Department also recently announced sanctions against three top Ortega officials for human rights abuses and corruption. I strongly applaud all of these actions, but I want to note my concern over an Organization of American States (OAS) resolution jointly introduced by the U.S. and Nicaragua last month that seemed to downplay the crisis and the deaths and could have more strongly supported the democratic actors on the ground.

     The U.S. must do more. I urge the State Department and Treasury Department to issue additional visa restrictions and Magnitsky sanctions on Ortega regime officials to send a clear message that the U.S. will not allow government officials who exploit the Nicaraguan people or who commit human rights abuses to visit U.S. destinations or access the U.S. banking systems. The U.S. must also do more to support the democratic actors in Nicaragua. Additional U.S. funding to support the Nicaraguan people is strongly welcomed by this Subcommittee. However, it is essential that the U.S. respond to the crisis with a clear strategy and that we consider the needs of the actors on the ground and their capacity to manage money effectively to achieve results as we consider any additional funding.

     Finally, I strongly believe that the U.S. will be most effective if we work together to support the Nicaraguan people through not only the Organization of American States (OAS) and its member states but also with the European Union, Canada, and the Lima Group countries to coordinate a united response to the Nicaraguan crisis. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on how the Trump Administration is engaging with all these different actors to support the Nicaraguan people and with that, I turn to Ranking Member Sires for his opening remarks."

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Rep. Cook’s California Off-Road Recreation and Conservation Act Passes in House

2018/06/25

WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today announced that his bill HR 857, the California Off-Road Recreation and Conservation Act passed unanimously in the House of Representatives this afternoon.

The bill will establish or expand six Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Areas in the California desert. In total, these six OHV areas cover roughly 300,000 acres. These are Johnson Valley, Spangler Hills, El Mirage, Rasor, Dumont Dunes, and Stoddard Valley. This bill creates additional protections for OHV users and ensures that these areas cannot be closed administratively. Creating the nation’s first system of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation areas will ensure that OHV activity is conducted in appropriate locations, protecting other parts of the desert.

The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 left the Mojave Desert with hundreds of thousands of acres of Wilderness Study Areas. In the decades since then, these areas have been reviewed extensively for their suitability as wilderness. This bill will designate some of these areas as wilderness, primarily within these wilderness study areas and Death Valley National Park, while releasing other lands from wilderness study that were found to be unsuitable for a wilderness designation.

The bill also designates approximately 18,000 acres of existing federal land as the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area. This would restrict large-scale projects such as renewable energy generation, while preserving all existing recreational and commercial uses of the Alabama Hills. Activities such as filming, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting, fishing, and authorized motorized vehicle use would be unaffected.

Lastly, HR 857 adds approximately 39,000 acres of land to the National Park System including significant acreage at both Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park.

The California Off-Road Recreation and Conservation Act has the support of San Bernardino and Inyo counties, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, local cities, virtually every major off-road vehicle group, environmental groups such as the California Wilderness Coalition and the Pew Charitable Trusts, local chambers of commerce, and the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation.

Rep. Cook said, “This bill is the product of years of outreach to local governments, tribes, off-highway vehicle users, conservation groups, Chambers of Commerce, miners, and other stakeholders. The bill protects recreational and OHV areas, makes crucial expansions to our national park lands, and represents a consensus on how to manage our public lands in the California desert. This is one of the most significant pieces of conservation and recreation legislation to pass the House of Representatives in decades and I thank my colleagues in the House for passing this important piece of legislation today.”

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

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Rep. Cook Votes to Take Action to Deal with Opioid Crisis

2018/06/14

WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) joined his colleagues in the House in voting for a number of bills aimed at fighting the growing opioid epidemic. According to the US Department of Health and Humans Services, in 2016 more than 42,000 people died from opioid overdose and an estimated 2.1 million people suffered from an opioid use disorder.

Today, Rep. Cook voted for HR 5788, the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act of 2018. This legislation protects Americans by stopping the flow of synthetic opioids in the international mail system. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl enter the United States through multiple avenues, including ports of entry, express delivery services, and international mail.  This legislation strengthens oversight on international shipments, enabling the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to better target high-risk shipments for inspection and seizure. HR 5788 passed the House overwhelmingly.

Rep. Cook also voted earlier this week for a number of additional measures targeting the opioid epidemic, including HR 5009, Jessie’s Law. After being sexually assaulted, a Michigan college student named Jessie looked to heroin to try to escape the trauma. Jessie battled addiction for nearly seven years, going in and out of rehab four times. Following her time at a Michigan treatment facility, Jessie was turning her life around and had been clean for six months.

Later she developed a running-related infection in her hip that required surgery. Her parents informed the hospital that she was a recovering addict and should not be prescribed opioids, but that message never made it to the discharging physician. Without knowing her addiction history, the doctor prescribed 50 oxycodone pills and she fatally overdosed the next day.

HR 5009 ensures medical professionals have access to a consenting patient’s complete health information when making treatment decisions by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and annually disseminate best practices regarding the prominent display of substance use disorder history in records of patients who have previously provided this information to a health care provider. HR 5009 passed the House unanimously.

Rep. Cook said, “This week Congress passed more than 25 bills specifically targeting the opioid crisis. With more than 115 people dying every day as a result of opioid abuse and overdose, we need to take action now. There’s still work to be done, but we’re making progress on fighting this epidemic that’s causing so much death and suffering.”

For a complete look at legislation has Congress has passed targeting the opioid crisis, please visit: energycommerce.house.gov/opioids-legislation/

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

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Contact Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Serving With

Doug LaMalfa

CALIFORNIA's 1st DISTRICT

Tom McClintock

CALIFORNIA's 4th DISTRICT

Jeff Denham

CALIFORNIA's 10th DISTRICT

David Valadao

CALIFORNIA's 21st DISTRICT

Devin Nunes

CALIFORNIA's 22nd DISTRICT

Kevin McCarthy

CALIFORNIA's 23rd DISTRICT

Steve Knight

CALIFORNIA's 25th DISTRICT

Ed Royce

CALIFORNIA's 39th DISTRICT

Ken Calvert

CALIFORNIA's 42nd DISTRICT

Mimi Walters

CALIFORNIA's 45th DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

Darrell Issa

CALIFORNIA's 49th DISTRICT

Duncan Hunter

CALIFORNIA's 50th DISTRICT

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