Cook: ‘I won’t be appearing as a political prop for protests’ - Hi-Desert Star: Letters To Editor

Cook: ‘I won’t be appearing as a political prop for protests’

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Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 5:37 pm

In the past few weeks, considerable national and local media coverage has been given to a protest campaign demanding that members of Congress host town halls in their districts. The stated intent of these protesters — organized under the auspices of the “Indivisible” movement — is to discuss President Trump’s agenda with their representatives, most notably the repeal of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare and the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. As expected, most, if not all, of the town halls have devolved into a spectacle of shouting and aggressive behavior on the part of protesters. This is a far cry from the marketplace of ideas they allege to promote.

As your representative in Congress, I’ve always been receptive to meeting with my constituents regarding their concerns with the federal government, even those with whom I disagree. In fact, I’ve hosted community events to interact with constituents in every incorporated city in my district. Throughout the first two months of this year, I’ve already met with groups of veterans, off-roaders, conservationists and active-duty troops. Just as I have during my previous terms in Congress, I will continue to meet with constituents and community organizations who believe that we can find solutions through constructive dialogue. However, I won’t be appearing as a prop for political protests that will further divide the American people. Whatever people may think about President Trump, he will be our commander in chief for at least the next four years, and his success or failure is America’s success or failure.

Of primary importance to many protesters are my long-held positions regarding immigration and Obamacare. Obamacare is deeply flawed and must be repealed and replaced with a better plan. Any new plan must roll back Obamacare regulations and mandates while ensuring that Americans have access to quality care that fits within their budget. We need a plan that decreases premiums, makes it easier for employers to offer affordable healthcare options to employees, and allows greater choice.

We must also secure our borders before we can discuss further immigration reform. The borders are not secure; we must provide more resources for our border enforcement to stop not only illegal immigration but the flow of drugs, criminals, and victims of human trafficking into the United States. Voters made a clear choice in my last election, and I plan to keep my word on my positions. Additionally, President Trump bested Hillary Clinton by a wide margin — 16 percentage points — in my district, indicating a strong preference among constituents for Trump’s policies.

I’ve also been accused by the aforementioned protesters of being a rubber stamp for President Trump’s agenda. Those who have followed me know that I strive to work across the aisle whenever possible. Despite my ideological opposition to many of Barack Obama’s actions as president, we found common ground on occasion, particularly on forcing reforms to the Veterans Administration. I intend to operate in this manner moving forward: cooperate whenever possible, and push back when necessary. This includes both the president and leadership in the House of Representatives.

I’ll always be willing to meet with my constituents who want to have a meaningful discussion of the issues, but will do so in forums designed to work toward solutions rather than scoring cheap political points. It’s an honor to serve as your representative to the House, and I look forward to continued constructive engagement with you.

© 2018 Hi-Desert Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Mike posted at 11:45 am on Fri, Mar 10, 2017.

    Mike Posts: 921

    With all due respect? LOL

  • JillGee posted at 6:05 am on Fri, Mar 10, 2017.

    JillGee Posts: 13

    With all due respect Congressman Cook you have turned yourself into a prop, not for protests but for the extremist republican regime currently in office. Your 100% party line politics are in contrast to your job as an elected official who represents all constituents. This has nothing to do with who lost and who won. There are very frightening and extremist bills moving through Congress right now that are causing your constituents great concern. We have politely requested a Town Hall over and over again. Crickets. You forced us to DEMAND a town hall meeting. Refusal and name calling on your part (local agitators, fringe group). We moved on to rallies and the #WhereIsPaulCook campaign. This is democracy, Congressman Cook. This is what it looks like. A Town Hall is a venerable American tradition and an effective way for a community to come together in one place with their representative to ask questions, voice concerns and hear each other out. Twitter, fb and small group meetings with your staffers won't cut it. We need to come together as a community under one roof and talk this over.

  • TwoToeJoe posted at 7:38 am on Mon, Mar 6, 2017.

    TwoToeJoe Posts: 486

    An election is a screening process. Politicians decide on which policies to pursue and those in which they feel is in the best interest of people and those who vote for them. The protest that is happening in town halls all across our nation is the result of those who think the only way to force their agenda upon our big change in Washington is by voicing their anger towards the politicians who have a different view. When these people lose an election a different tactic must be employed to draw sympathy to their cause. Good luck in the next election if those in power succeed in improving the problems we are facing now caused by the previous administration.

  • bill jenkins posted at 8:06 am on Sun, Mar 5, 2017.

    bill jenkins Posts: 339

    perhaps a screening process could be set up, thereby allowing only
    constiuants who agree with you to attend a town hall.

  • Crotalus atrox posted at 7:50 pm on Sat, Mar 4, 2017.

    Crotalus atrox Posts: 199

    I commend Congressman Cook for not caving in to the demands of these disrupters.

    To those of you who think you are contributing to a noble cause by calling for these town hall meetings, you have been mislead by Alinsky disciple organizers and you all are pawns in an attempt to stall the moving of this great country forward.

    None of these myriad of letters to this paper have addressed WHY they want these meetings, but we all know, as Colonel Cook noted in his letter :

    "most, if not all, of the town halls have devolved into a spectacle of shouting and aggressive behavior on the part of protesters. This is a far cry from the marketplace of ideas they allege to promote."

    We all know the above is true. So PLEASE do what is best for this country and give it a rest. I know it is hard, you have been so indoctrinated. But you are on the losing end of a pointless battle.


  • Mike posted at 7:38 pm on Sat, Mar 4, 2017.

    Mike Posts: 921

    Hazel, make an appointment or go to one of his many "Meet and Greets" (he holds several every year). Cook offers plenty of opportunity for his constituents to speak with him in person... or is that not exactly what you wanted to do?

  • Hazel posted at 2:48 pm on Sat, Mar 4, 2017.

    Hazel Posts: 1

    Mr, Cook, you insult citizens when you deny us a public forum for asking you about your record serving this district. There are countless issues that concern your constituents that cannot be summed up and dismissed by you in a press release type statement. You come across as authoritarian and undemocratic, and unwilling to face the responsibility of the job.

  • KatieoftheDesert posted at 2:18 pm on Sat, Mar 4, 2017.

    KatieoftheDesert Posts: 57

    "I’ll always be willing to meet with my constituents who want to have a meaningful discussion of the issues, but will do so in forums designed to work toward solutions rather than scoring cheap political points."

    It appears to me this letter is your way of scoring "cheap political points" and making excuses for your cowardice. You just pandered to those that agree with you and insulted those of us that don't.

    We don't need you as a political prop. We have and will protest with or without you. What we need is for you to hear what half your constituents want and to have a discussion about how you are willing to accommodate those desires.

    I recently wrote you an email about your long-time immigration policies. What I told you was that there was a time when I supported those policies. I even wrote you back then and received a letter back from you. I regret that. Exposure to the poor and immigrants via my career caused me to grow a heart and a soul and I changed my views. Also, as a member of the Air Force Reserve for 10 years I was exposed to a very diverse work force which also helped to change my views.

    Why would you vote against an investigation of the Trump/Russia connection? If there is nothing there, why would you fear an investigation.? How many times was Hillary Clinton investigated?

    The fact that you have always supported certain policies does not make them right. There is strong opposition to some of your views and a good representative, would consider compromise. A human being with morals and empathy would consider compromise. You refuse to do that. It's very disappointing.

  • Bob Mateski posted at 9:29 pm on Fri, Mar 3, 2017.

    Bob Mateski Posts: 330

    To the honorable Congressman Cook,

    The veterans in your district have been patiently asking for a veterans center to be located in the Morongo basin to serve over 56,000 veterans who are forced to drive over 70 miles one way usually while on medication, this very real need has been ignored for far too long and action must be taken to secure funding for this badly needed service center.
    Morongo Valley would be a perfect location in that it would serve the estimated 50,300 veterans in the Coachella Valley and the estimated 6,000 veterans in the Morongo basin while cutting our drive time and exposure to the dangers of driving while on VA medication in half.
    If Morongo Valley is not viable then please contact Congressman Ruiz to see if Desert Hot Springs would be a good location to build a veterans center, Congreesman Ruiz is a Democrat but if you are willing to work across the aisle it would sure be appreciated in getting this accomplished.

    Respectfully, Robert W. Mateski

  • don mckinney posted at 8:46 pm on Fri, Mar 3, 2017.

    don mckinney Posts: 147

    If anyone finds a wounded but living desert tortoise run over by a tank , do we take it to the veterinarians or leave it alone in fear of federal rangers authority and heavy handed
    federal enforcement that resulted in four suicides in recent years from the threat of many years in prison from protected items and animals , birds on federal jurisdiction? Please clarify these laws , some new to our area .'' Naysaying and condemnation , without investigation is the highest form of ignorance .'' albert einstein . What type of federal laws do we need to know about that could easily effect us adversely in our new designated area and military occupation ?

  • don mckinney posted at 7:57 pm on Fri, Mar 3, 2017.

    don mckinney Posts: 147

    Is it in our best interest to get more information regarding the chem trails that have evidently been sprayed on us for 50 years ? Are they really silver iodide , aluminum and iron oxide , thoreum , etc.? Weather modification sprays for cloud seeding over the last eight years did not seem fruitful . Is the drinking water tested for these contaminants ? What is the likely hood that the marine base exercises in landers may leave residual depleted uranium from the armaments small and large , white phosphorous ,agent orange , napalm ,paraquot , nano-thermite , unexploded ordinance , other knowable and unknowable contaminants ? Will you seek an independent investigation into the free fall collapse of the three towers in controlled demolition manner on sept.11, 2001 ? It seemed to lead us into 15 years of war with no end in sight .All crime is looked back on through investigation .This was a pivotal event in human history that needs real examination .Are you in favor of the patriot act that we obtained from the 9-11 dustification of the towers or the NDAA that took our habeus corpus and other rights away? Should we celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the BALFOUR DECLARATION nov. 2 , 1917 , where the U.S. entered ww1 to save our allies , england and france , from germany in trade for palestinians land for israel ? Significant effort has been expended and needs recognition for taxpayers on this matter promised to rothschild . Is this the big picture as cheney recently explained ? Our collective health is our wealth .I prefer to ask questions here rather than try to get an answer to the public at a town hall .Since silence is consent on these matters of criminal terrorist conduct and there is no statute of limitations on terrorist acts , cover up being a continual criminal act , I eagerly await your public response . Is nestle paying 524 a year for whitewater river water that we could pipe into morongo basin ? I never said I was smart , but I am curious why we avoid the obvious questions for which the world is aware of .This can be a litmus test for the depth of our integrity as a community . rather than the fake news pablum of deception and distraction , I thank you in advance for your military/citizen insight into the largest cause of ptsd and 22 suicides per day of veterans that possibly being mass war glorification aimed at our young neighbors kid who just needs a job and an identity ?


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