Congressman Cook Newsletter: October 14, 2014
EDITORIAL: Moving Forward on Land Exchange By Congressman Paul Cook
At the current pace of economic growth, the “jobs gap” won’t close until 2018. This gap includes both jobs lost during the recession as well as new ones needed to keep pace with population increases. For working Americans, particularly in rural counties like Mono, that wait is far too long.
Last year, I introduced, H.R. 1241, a vital local jobs bill for Mono County. This legislation facilitates a land exchange that would allow the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area to obtain the 21 acres surrounding the Mammoth Mountain Inn. This land is currently leased from the National Forest Service. In exchange, the National Forest Service would receive from the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area over 1,500 acres of valuable wilderness along with a monetary offset.
This bill has two primary goals. First and foremost, this is a jobs bill. After more than 50 years of use, the Mammoth Mountain Inn building itself requires significant improvements and rehabilitation. This land exchange will allow Mammoth Mountain to start construction, creating jobs to rebuild the Inn. Mammoth Mountain’s employment fluctuates between a high of 2,500 employees during the winter to a low of approximately 650 employees in the summer, making Mammoth Mountain the largest employer in the county. The new construction on the Inn will help facilitate not only new construction jobs during renovation but will allow the ski area to expand, creating more permanent jobs.
Second, this is an environmental bill. The 1,500 acres involved in this land exchange have long been desired for protection by local conservationists and the Forest Service. Protection of these lands is imperative to the scenic basin, and this bill protects them. I say that if we can protect public land and create jobs at the same time, we should do it as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, we face a major roadblock. For the past six years, the growth of the federal government and federal deficit has far outpaced the growth of our California and local economies. We can’t afford to wait for solutions from others; that’s why it’s time for bills like H.R. 1241 to help us grow the economy from the ground up. My bill passed out of the House of Representatives with wide bipartisan support last December but has been stuck in the Senate ever since. In a partisan Senate more concerned with protecting its own majority than helping working Americans, this vital jobs bill has languished alongside over 250 other bills with strong bipartisan support. Senate leadership has indicated H.R. 1241 won’t receive any action until after the election at the very earliest. This is unacceptable, and I call on the Senate to take up this bipartisan bill and pass it immediately. American families want to get back to work, and they’ve waited long enough. I ask that you join me in telling the Senate to wake up and listen to the voices of rural residents.
This editorial first appeared on the sheetnews.com on September 25, 2014. The article posted can be found here.
Congressman Cook Introduces Bill to Create Alabama Hills National Scenic Area
Congressman Paul Cook introduced H.R. 5573, legislation that would establish the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area. This designation would encompass 18,610 acres of the scenic Alabama Hills and would preserve it for recreational use by the public and future generations. A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) map of the proposed Alabama Hills National Scenic Area can be found here.
This bill guarantees that all recreational activities currently taking place in the Alabama Hills will continue. This includes not only hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing, but hunting, fishing, and authorized motorized vehicle use as well. Additionally, recreational prospecting (rock-hounding) will continue in the historic mining areas under this legislation.
This bill is the culmination of months of work by Rep. Paul Cook and the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group to draft legislative language acceptable to all key local stakeholders. The stewardship group is dedicated to promoting the long term vision, conservation, use, enhancement, and enjoyment of the Alabama Hills. Groups and organizations that have worked with the stewardship group include Inyo County, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, the Lone-Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, local business owners, and other key stakeholders.
Cook said, “The Alabama Hills are a natural treasure, and I’m excited to introduce this bill to help guarantee our children and grandchildren can enjoy them the same way we do. The level of local input has been incredible and should serve as an example for how land use decisions are made.”
The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group released a statement saying, “The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group is delighted by the introduction of legislation supporting our proposed National Scenic Area designation for the Alabama Hills. This is a culmination of years of collaboration and steadfast support from a broad range of stakeholders. We are proud of our partnership with the Bureau of Land Management in helping manage and protect this semi-primitive area and look forward to both preserving this jaw-dropping landscape and providing access to it for future generations.”
Audit the Fed Bill Passes House
A recent Rasmussen poll found that 74 percent of Americans favor auditing the Federal Reserve. As your Representative in Washington, I have made your priorities my priorities. As an original cosponsor of H.R 24, Federal Reserve Transparency Act, I am proud to report that the House of Representatives passed this bill on September 17.
This bipartisan bill requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a full audit of the Federal Reserve within one year. I have heard from many of you regarding the need to advocate for honesty, transparency, and accountability in government. Today, more than ever, the Federal Reserve needs to be held accountable to the American People.
At least 44 jobs bills are still being blocked by Senate Democrats. With the passage of this important bill, I hope they’ll stop blocking progress, transparency, and accountability and get to work for the American people.
Women of Distinction
On Friday, October 24, 2014, I’ll be hosting the second annual Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony to honor women from the district. The event will take place from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Apple Valley Town Conference Center, located at 14955 Dale Evans Parkway, Apple Valley, CA 92307.
This event is an opportunity to recognize women throughout the district who have made significant contributions to their communities without the recognition they deserve. People from all over the district nominated women who they believe have taken an active role in their communities by focusing their time and effort to improve the lives of others. It’s important that we honor recognize these contributions. For more information, please click here.
Military Academy Nominations
The new school year has started, and that means high school seniors from our district will begin the process of applying for college. If you are a current high school senior and are interested in attending one of our nation’s prestigious military academies, I encourage you to fill out an application through my office.
Young Americans who attend West Point, the Naval Academy at Annapolis, or the Air Force Academy receive a world-class university education. This gives them the skills to not only serve in our nation’s armed forces, but to lead successful careers later in life.
The deadline to apply is December 1, 2014. The application for a service
academy nomination can be found here.
My office will be hosting informational "Academy Nights" in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned for more details.
My office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs help with the Veterans' Administration please call my Apple Valley District Office at 760-247-1815.
Disable Veterans Housing Resource
If you are a disable veteran you may be qualified to become a candidate of LEAP, a program designed to facilitate the hiring of persons with disabilities. The LEAP program is an alternate examination and apportionment process administered by the State Personnel Board and can lead to almost immediate employment. For more information about LEAP, please visit https://jobs.ca.gov/Job/Leap.