Paul Cook dodges the Indivisible gang and protestors
Representative Paul Cook, (8th) which includes Inyo and Mono counties, was noticeably absent from appeareances for several months following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. A website was dedicated to looking for the missing Congressman, www.whereispaulcook.com, and missing posters were placed on milk cartons.
Cook joins a growing list of Republican Congressmen that are not showing, not holding or regret attending town hall meetings in their districts. Constituents are angry at Trump’s agenda and are asking and yelling their demands and questions. California Representative Tom McClintock (4th) needed a police escort from one rowdy meeting.
Since being elected in 2013, Cook has held one town hall meeting in Bishop in September 2013, another in 2014 in Hesperia and a Twitter town hall in 2014, and that’s it prior to Trump’s election. Jason Graham of Indivisible Victor Valley said he’s never been a fan of Cook, “But he’s been easy to forget since 2013.”
Cook held his first town hall meeting of the new administration, via telephone on Wednesday, March 29, attended by 3,700 people, but he will not be attending a meeting in Victor Valley on April 22. The town hall was paid for and organized by the group Indivisible Victor Valley. Indivisible is a nationwide, grassroots project that helps local activist groups effect change and defeat the Trump agenda.
Michael Fresquez, Senior Advisor to Cook, said he did not cancel the April 22 town hall. “The event on April 22 is a political stunt organized by Indivisible, a group actively working to defeat him in the next election,” Fresquez stated in an email. “Rep. Cook will not participate in any such political stunt, and he will not participate in any Indivisible events in the future.”
Graham told The Sheet, “That’s not, has never been our intention. As an Indivisible group our mission is solely to pressure our congressman to resist the Trump agenda. Anyone who thinks otherwise has obviously never read [our] guide or done even the most cursory research on us.”
Cook is not a fan of the town hall meetings that “reward the loudest voices in the room, while marginalizing other constituents who have important issues they want to discuss” Fresquez said.
Cook welcomes constructive discourse by detractors and supporters, Fresquez explained and will continue to have tele-town hall meetings.
Margy Verba, de-facto leader of Indivisible Eastern Sierra, said her group does not advocate uncivil conversation, yelling or being rude at a town hall, but said that people are angry.
Fresquez did not respond to the question of whether or not constituents will become calmer or grow angrier the longer Cook waits to make an appearance.
Cook spends time in his district but no one ever sees him, Graham says. Cook will come out for a ceremonial speech at some event, then leave quickly.