|Member of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors|
from the 1st district
December 7, 2020
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 8th district
January 3, 2013 - December 7, 2020
|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 65th district
December 4, 2006 - November 30, 2012
Paul Joseph Cook
March 3, 1943
Meriden, Connecticut, U.S.
|Education||Southern Connecticut State University (BS)|
California State University, San Bernardino (MPA)
University of California, Riverside (MA)
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch/service||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1966-1992|
|Awards|| Bronze Star|
Purple Heart (2)
Paul Joseph Cook (born March 3, 1943) is an American politician serving as a San Bernardino County Supervisor since 2020. A member of the Republican Party, he was previously elected to the Yucca Valley Town Council from 1998 to 2006, California State Assembly for the 65th district until 2012, and the U.S. Representative for California's 8th congressional district from 2013 to 2020.
In September 2019, Cook announced that he would not run for re-election to Congress in 2020, and instead run for a seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. In the March 3, 2020 primary election, Cook defeated three opponents with an outright majority to avoid a November runoff and succeed Robert A. Lovingood, making him the San Bernardino County Supervisor from the 1st district. Cook assumed office on December 7, 2020.
Cook was born in Meriden, Connecticut in 1943. He was raised in Meriden and did not permanently move to California until the end of his military career. In 1966, he graduated from Southern Connecticut State University, earning a B.S. in teaching. Later that year, he joined the United States Marine Corps. As an infantry officer, Cook served in the Vietnam War. His actions in combat earned him many honors, including the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. He served in the Marine Corps for 26 years.
After he retired from the Marine Corps in 1992 as a colonel, he earned an MPA from California State University, San Bernardino in 1996 and a master's in political science from University of California Riverside in 2000.
From 1993 to 1994, he was Director of Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce. From 1998 to 2002, he was a professor at Copper Mountain College. Cook taught courses on political violence and terrorism at University of California Riverside since 2002.
In 2006, Cook ran for California's 65th Assembly District. Cook won a five candidate Republican primary field with 29% of the vote. In the general election, Cook defeated Democrat Rita Ramirez-Dean 60%-37%. In 2008, he won re-election to a second term, defeating Democrat Carl Wood 53%-47%. In 2010, he won re-election to a third term, defeating Wood again 58%-42%.
The 65th district included the cities of Banning, Beaumont, Big Bear Lake, Calimesa, Cherry Valley, Hemet, Moreno Valley, Perris, San Jacinto, Sun City, Twentynine Palms, Yucaipa, Yucca Valley and other smaller communities and unincorporated areas in Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Inyo County and Mono County.
The California Chamber of Commerce and the California Taxpayers Association gave Cook a perfect 100% rating, 2007-2011. In 2010, Democratic Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez appointed Cook to chair the Veterans Affairs Committee, the first time a Democratic speaker had appointed a Republican to chair a committee since 2002.
In January 2012, 34-year incumbent Jerry Lewis announced he would not seek re-election in November. Cook entered the primary for the district, which had been renumbered from the 41st to the 8th in redistricting. He finished second in the 13-candidate all-party open primary. He earned 15% of the vote. Fellow Republican and conservative activist Gregg Imus ranked first with 16% of the vote. Cook was endorsed by the California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA) past presidents, the San Bernardino Sun, National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, the County Farm Bureau, state Assemblyman Steve Knight, state Senator Sharon Runner, and U.S. Congressman Ed Royce. In the November election, Cook defeated Imus 58%-42%.
In 2013, Cook co-signed a letter to then president Barack Obama, urging him to finalize the Keystone XL pipeline, stating that it was about "jobs, jobs jobs." He also expressed fear that China "is ready to take advantage of America's missteps with the Keystone pipeline."
Early in 2017, Cook voted in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act. His reason for voting for the repeal was to ensure that "every American has access to quality care to fit their budget." In August 2017, he voted in favor of outlawing late term abortions, unless the woman was a victim of rape or incest or that her life was threatened.
Cook voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. By voting for the bill, Cook says that the bill will "deliver crucial tax relief for middle-class and low-income Americans." He voted for this bill because more than 90 percent of taxpaying constituents will receive a tax break. He also supports it because it simplifies the tax code.
In the first session of the 115th United States Congress, Cook was ranked the 33rd most bipartisan member of the House by the Bipartisan Index, a metric published by The Lugar Center and Georgetown's McCourt School of Public Policy to assess congressional bipartisanship.
Cook supports repealing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). He supports legislation that "decreases premiums, makes it easier for employers to offer affordable healthcare options for their employees, and allows greater freedom for people to purchase a plan of their choice."
Cook believes that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is unconstitutional.
|California State Assembly 65th District Republican Primary Election, 2006|
|California State Assembly 65th District Election, 2006|
|Peace and Freedom||John Taleb||3,358||2.|
|California State Assembly 65th District Election, 2008|
|Republican||Paul Cook (inc.)||93,566||53.3|
|California State Assembly 65th District Election, 2010|
|Republican||Paul Cook (inc.)||78,475||57.9|
|California's 8th Congressional District Primary Election, 2012|
|California's 8th Congressional District Election, 2012|
|California's 8th Congressional District Primary Election, 2014|
|Republican||Paul Cook (inc.)||40,007||58.1|
|California's 8th Congressional District Election, 2014|
|Republican||Paul Cook (inc.)||77,480||67.6|
|California's 8th Congressional District Primary Election, 2016|
|Republican||Paul Cook (inc.)||50,425||42.0|
|Democratic||Roger La Plante||6,661||5.5|
| Member of the California Assembly
from the 65th district
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 8th congressional district