APPLE VALLEY, CA, February 23 — For weeks, constituents in California’s 8th Congressional District have used office visits, phone calls, e-mails, and letters — even Valentine’s cards — to urge Representative Paul Cook (R-CA) to convene a town hall in the 8th District. Yesterday, Congressman Cook’s office finally acknowledged his disappearance.
In a statement released to Riverside’s Press-Enterprise, Rep. Cook’s spokesperson, Michael Fresquez explained that, “During the first 100 days of any new administration” the Congressman is “required by oath to be in D.C. a great deal.” Mr. Fresquez added that Rep. Cook has had a “hectic schedule.”
The Congressman’s schedule has been “hectic,” indeed. Just last week he was spotted waving the green flag at the King of the Hammer’s off-road race in the Lucerne Valley — an activity that is exempt, apparently, from the oath that otherwise keeps him in Washington, D.C. and away from the 8th District.
Sources close to the investigation tell us that they are looking into what “oath,” specifically, the Congressman may have sworn to. Speaking on a condition of anonymity (given the ongoing investigation), one official told us that, “We’re not ruling out foul play at this point. Mr. Fresquez’s comments have us exploring the possibility that the Congressman may have pledged allegiance to a cult of some sort — perhaps a radical offshoot of a major political party.”
It’s not uncommon for Super PACs or populist demagogues to demand blind obedience from those that fall under their sway. “We just hope we’re not too late,” the anonymous official continued. “Constituents in California’s 8th District need a voice in Washington.”
Members of Congress do swear an oath when they enter office; however, that oath does not stipulate the percentage of work legislators are required to transact from Washington during the first 100 days of a new administration, as Mr. Fresquez suggests. Indeed, the House of Representatives is currently in the middle of a “district work week” (February 18-26) — a period when legislators are expected to be in their home districts interacting with constituents. Congressman Cook refuses to hold a town hall during this time, though.
In an effort, perhaps, to distract from investigators’ concerns about a cult abduction, Mr. Fresquez noted that the Congressman has “met with veterans, offroaders, conservationists, and active-duty troops — among many others.” Mr. Fresquez added that “[the Congressman] will continue meeting with constituent groups just as he has in the past — including those which disagree with him, but do so in a constructive manner … He will not allow fringe groups of any type to dictate the political discourse.”
Those involved with the search effort see these comments as a glimmer of hope. In recent weeks, constituents from non-partisan groups like Indivisible and the High Desert Resistance have met several times with Rep. Cook’s senior staffer, Matt Knox, not once, not twice, but three times to share their well-reasoned, if passionate, concerns about the Congressman’s policy positions on the Affordable Care Act, “the wall,” the President’s Muslim Ban, corruption in the President’s cabinet, and Russian interference in the election, among other issues.
In a joint statement, Indivisible groups now operating in the 8th district said that, “We are heartened to hear that, once found, Congressman Cook is willing to talk constructively with a diverse cross-section of constituents — not just those he agrees with. When the Congressman’s office learns of his whereabouts, we’re sure that staffers like Matt Knox — with whom we’ve had several constructive conversations — will recommend to the Congressman that he convene a town hall in the 8th District to address our concerns. That way, all interested constituents will have an opportunity to have their questions about the Congressman’s policy positions answered by him directly.”