Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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Congressman Paul Cook's Newsletter: September 5, 2017

Sep 5, 2017
Press Release
District Update | September 5, 2017

Service for Our Veterans

During my time in office, one of my top priorities has always been improving services for our nation’s veterans. With a 24-hour news cycle that thrives on controversy and negative stories, it’s easy to miss out on some of the positive things being accomplished. My colleagues and I have worked hard on veterans’ legislation, and the President has signed into law several of these bills, all of which will have a significant impact on our nation’s veterans.

Helping our veterans obtain gainful employment once they leave the military is one of Congress’s most critical responsibilities. I’ve worked to address this issue by trying to find ways to incentivize employers to hire and retain veterans. Earlier this year, the President signed into law a bill I authored called the HIRE Vets Act of 2017. This much-needed legislation encourages companies to hire and retain veterans by rewarding employers with “HIRE Vets Medallions” if they meet certain criteria. The medallions can then be used on marketing materials so that the public can see which employers are truly living up to their commitments to bring veterans into the workforce.

The needs of veterans and the nature of higher education have changed dramatically over the past decade. In response to these changes, Congress updated and modernized the Post-9/11 GI Bill with the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. This bill was overwhelmingly supported by members of both parties and veterans organizations and was signed into law by the President last month. This legislation greatly expands eligibility and access to GI Bill benefits. It also gives veterans greater flexibility for the type of education they pursue, increasing their ability to pursue technical certifications and other types of degrees. Included in that legislation was language from my bill, the Veterans Education Equity Act. This provision fixed the way the VA determines Post-9/11 GI Bill housing payments for student veterans, which prevents some veterans from receiving a fair housing payment. This change ensures that our student veterans are getting a fair and reasonable housing benefit so they can afford their education.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the VA, David Shulkin, has been working to change the culture among employees and to streamline how that VA operates. To assist that effort, Congress passed and the President signed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. This important legislation gives the Secretary more flexibility to change personnel who are not performing to the VA’s standards. Maintaining the status quo at the VA is not acceptable, and this bill will help Secretary Shulkin to change that. Congress also recently passed the VA Choice Act, extending and fully funding the Choice program that allows certain veterans to access care outside the VA and avoid long wait times.

We still have more work to do with regard to veterans’ access to healthcare, reforming the VA to make it more accountable, and improving veteran unemployment, but these bills show that Congress is making headway to address these issues. As long as I’m in office, I’ll keep fighting for our veterans who have made tremendous sacrifices to our great nation.

This editorial was recently published  in the Yucaipa Valley News Mirror.

FAA Overflight Issue in Lake Arrowhead


I am continuing to work diligently with the FAA to find and implement a solution to the overflight issue that has plagued Lake Arrowhead residents for several months. This change in flight patterns has created a quality of life issue in our mountain communities, and I am committed to reversing it. Click here to see a copy of the letter I sent to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in June requesting a resolution for this issue.

If you have experienced this issue, please write a letter to my Apple Valley District Office at 14955 Dale Evans Parkway Apple Valley, CA 92307.

Membership Orientation for The Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce


On Friday, September 8 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., the Yucaipa Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free membership orientation for members to get the most out of their investment. Members are encouraged to attend as there is always something to learn. 

For questions, contact Ellen at (760) 790-1841

Barstow Marine Corps Rodeo


Get the thrills of the most extreme rodeo events on September 8 & 9 at MCLB Barstow! The Flying U Extreme Rodeo features fan favorite events such as bull riding & bull fighting with the added flare of new events - bull poker, ring of fire, toro teeter totter and FMX. Enjoy the parachute jumper with American Flag, freestyle motocycles, and other kid’s activities.

For tickets or more information, click here

Yucca Valley Rotary 2nd Annual Lobersterfest


The 2nd Annual Lobersterfest hosted by the Yucca Valley Rotary Club will be on Saturday, September 9. This amazing fun night under the stars with great food includes: lobster and steak, full potato bar, desserts, and sides. There will also be live music catering the event.

For questions contact the Yucca Valley Rotary at  760-365-7003 or email for information regarding the location.

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.

High Desert Marines 4th Annual Car and Motorcycle Show



Join the High Desert Marines 4th Annual Car and Motorcycle show on Saturday, September 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Midway Home Solutions on 14444 Atstar Drive in Victorville. Registration for the show begins at 8:00 a.m.

For information contact Tim at (760) 985-3440

September is Veteran Suicide Prevention Month


September marks Veteran Suicide Prevention month. Statistics show that 21 veterans are believed to take their lives each day once they return from their deployments. Veterans and/or families who house former service members please visit the Veteran Crisis Line.

For more information contact the  Veterans Crisis line at (800) 273-8255 or  click here

Veterans are encouraged to visit the High Desert Vet Center at 15095 Amargosa Road, Suite 107 in Victorville. You can call their office at (760) 261-5925.

9th Annual Veteran Operation Recognition-Veterans Diploma Project


The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, in partnership with the County of San Bernardino Department of Veterans Affairs, is announcing their Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project. The Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project provides veterans and internees, who were unable to complete high school due to military service or internment, the opportunity to receive a high school diploma.

The deadline to submit an application to be eligible for the Veteran Diploma Project is August 25.

For more information, Click Here