Inadequate Presidential Response Shifts Burden To GOP-Led Congress, Cook Says

(October 10)  Congressman Paul Cook says that his successful efforts at safeguarding the interests of his constituents merit him a second term in Congress.
A 26-year Marine Corps veteran who achieved the rank of colonel, Cook began his political career as a councilman and mayor with the town of Yucaa Valley and served in the California Assembly before  being elected to the  U.S. House of  Representatives for California’s 8th Congressional District in 2012.
With regard to his major accomplishments in his less than two years in Washington, D.C., Cook said, “The biggest victory, bar none, was in retaining over 100,000 acres of land for off-road vehicle use in Johnson Valley, at a time when the Marine Corps was poised to take everything. When I took office in 2012, everyone assumed the Marines would take it all. I fought back, built a coalition, and made my case in Congress. It worked.
“I’ve also had success in veterans legislation, passing legislation prioritizing claims for terminally ill veterans and those over the age of 70,” he continued. “I took a leading role investigating the widespread abuses at the Veterans Administration, passing vital legislation to reform it. I was able to pass legislation out of the House for a crucial land exchange for Mammoth Mountain in Mono County. I’m still hopeful that it will move through the Senate during the lame duck session late this year, but I know that with a Republican Senate in 2015, we’ll get this deal through, and it will help create a lot of jobs in a place that sorely needs it.
“Finally,” he said, “I’ve held the line on government spending. In fact, during my time in Congress I’ve helped reduce the deficit by over $23 billion. This is above and beyond the tens of billions in deficit reduction due to the sequester. That’s not nearly enough, but it’s a good start.”
Cook, a Republican, is opposed in this year’s race by Bob Conaway, a Democrat, who has assailed him on any number of issues, including charging that Cook is more loyal to Corporate America than the country’s citizens, that he failed to support more substantial funding to make a national response to the Ebola crisis, that  he had voted to in effect gut the Clean Water Act, that he promoted with his votes what Conway characterized as “substandard” health care plans, and that he has voted in support of legislation that Conaway said would “steal” money from pension funds.
“My opponent tends to engage in personal attacks, and I think that’s a huge disservice to America,” Cook said of Conaway’s biting criticisms. “Many of the claims are silly and not worth repeating. I work hard on issues brought before me, regardless of the source, and I stand by my votes and actions. I’m a proud American and proud combat veteran of the Vietnam era. I don’t apologize for either.”
Cook said he embraced his Republicanism, despite attacks on the party’s stances and policies and suggestions by Conaway that Cook is out of step with the priorities and values of the country at large, as he said the GOP is generally.
“California’s Eighth Congressional District is a conservative district, and I think I fit it very well,” said Cook. “This isn’t San Francisco; this is real America. I don’t ignore Democrats – local leaders from Barstow to the Morongo Basin will tell you that – but I am guided by my conservative principles: lower taxes, smaller more effective government, a strong military, and care for our veterans. These are my biggest issues, and I believe the overwhelming majority of my constituents agree with these priorities.”
On the other hand, Cook rejected assertions by a Republican who opposed Cook in this year’s  primary, Paul Hannosh, suggesting that for the majority of his constituents in the Eighth District, Cook is not conservative enough.
“I’d suggest that’s cheap rhetoric,” Cook said of Hannosh’s claim. “I vote to reduce and eliminate taxes at every opportunity, I vote for a strong military, and I want a smaller more efficient government. If one looks at my voting record – facts, not rhetoric – you’ll see I stand for liberty, constitutional rights, and all of the things that make America the greatest country on earth. I’ve voted to eliminate Obamacare, and I voted to create a balanced federal budget, one that will reduce the burden on working Americans. I don’t care how my detractors label it; I’m fighting to make government work for the people. We need to reclaim it for ourselves.”
Of the  major challenges facing the country, Cook said, “We’re facing new threats internationally from terrorist groups, and many Americans have lost faith in government and in their ability to gain employment that will allow them to thrive and raise a family. I don’t have confidence in our current president to face these challenges, so it’s up to Congress to continue addressing the problems of the nation. We need good jobs, and we need better national security. To do less is to endanger the future of our great nation.”
With regard to the major issues roiling in the Eighth District, Cook said, “Jobs are priority one. We still suffer from unemployment that exceeds the state and national averages. Nearly all improvement starts with good paying jobs.
“We also face a huge threat from federal bureaucracies trying to dictate to us how to use the land,” Cook continued. “I’m fighting a huge battle against a proposal by urban politicians to make our Mt. Baldy a national monument. Beyond that, we have trails issues in the north and renewable energy conflicts in Victor Valley, just to name a few. I want locals to have the leading voice in these land use decisions, not some bureaucrat in Sacramento or Washington DC. This is our land, and we need to fight for it.”
Cook said, “I want to find ways to utilize our district’s natural advantage in things like rail transportation systems, road transportation systems, and natural resources. We also have wonderful land availability and a number of local governments poised to work with new businesses. So my job is to create the incentives and improve the infrastructure in a way that draws businesses and jobs to the district.”
Cook asserted he is a better candidate for Congress than Conaway.
“I’ve traveled this entire district and met with countless veterans, retirees, and business owners,” Cook said. “They all want the same thing: a smaller government that works where it needs to work and stays out of their lives otherwise. I’m a combat veteran in an area with a huge veterans population, and I know the land issues that threaten our way of life. I also understand national security issues, learned during my 26 years in the Marine Corps. I’ll fight for our constitutional rights, and I’ll fight for lower taxes. That, I believe, is what the people want.”

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