We did it!

We did it! YOU did it! Every one of you who called, wrote, shared, showed up, rallied, and reached out contributed to this win – and this is a BIG win! We’re under no illusions that TrumpCare is gone for good, but this giant defeat out of the gate has to be demoralizing for the Right and is revealing of the fragility of the Republicans’ foolhardy bargain with Trump. People all over the Basin worked really hard to make this happen, and that work made a difference. Thank you, Indivisibles of the Morongo Basin and throughout the 8th District!

Now, it’s time to get back to work. Our next general meeting is coming up in early April and it will be all about ACTION! Look for details soon.

Finally, a word from the national Indivisible Guide Team:

Friday was just an incredible victory for Americans—and also an incredible victory for you. There is no way TrumpCare would have been defeated before coming to a vote if it hadn’t been for the thousands of office visits, phone calls, and town hall questions from constituents like you and your Indivisible group members. This is your win, and you did it by standing indivisible. Phenomenal, just phenomenal. We hope you and your group are taking the time to celebrate—you deserve to relish this moment and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

Still Dishing It Up In The Cook-House

The resistance to the Trump agenda continues on the opinion pages of the Hi-Desert Star.  Keep it up, people!  You’re getting the message out, and it makes a difference.

Letters to the Editor:

(Reminder:  Find contact information for submitting your letters to the editor of newspapers throughout the 8th District here.)

Indivisible Morongo Basin was also one of eight District 8 Indivisible groups that signed on to a response to Rep. Paul Cook’s February op-ed that rejected the calls for a town hall.  The letter was published in the Victorville Daily Press and the Barstow Desert Dispatch.  Full text:

An open letter to Rep. Paul Cook

 

Posted Mar 13, 2017 at 9:34 AM

 

By T.C. Corrigan

 

Congressman Cook: Thanks so much for your op-ed last week. We’re glad to hear you’re safe. The “missing person” milk cartons that we saw on the news had us worried!

 

We’re writing you today as everyday citizens from California’s 8th District who, in recent weeks, have formed several local Indivisible groups in response to the Trump agenda. Indivisible is a national, non-partisan, grassroots movement working to resist that agenda, but our local, 8th District groups operate autonomously and democratically.

 

For weeks we’ve asked you to schedule a public town hall. Town halls are a time-honored means for constituents to directly inquire about their representatives’ policy positions and share their thoughts on the country’s direction.

 

Despite our many requests, you declined to schedule a public town hall during district work week (Feb. 18-26) — a period when legislators were expected to be in their districts interacting with constituents. In last week’s op-ed, you explained your reticence. We would like to respond to your main points.

 

First, you argued that February’s nationwide town halls were “wholly unproductive and oftentimes unsafe.” Citizens asked their representatives tough policy questions and shared personal stories about those policies’ impacts on their lives. What could be more productive for a democracy? The vast majority of town halls were also entirely peaceful. And where constituents did vent their frustrations, is it not their representatives’ responsibility to listen and consider their views?

 

Second, you accuse us of “creating not a dialogue but an indoor protest space with ample media coverage.” We’ve had several productive, if passionate, discussions with your staff, and we are committed to a productive town hall where constituents can ask questions, share stories, and respectfully listen. And if your positions are so popular, you should have no problem packing the place with grateful constituents, right? Your spokesman called us a “fringe group,” after all.

 

Third, you say the 8th District “voted for President Trump by a wide margin,” and that he “must be given the latitude to govern.” President Trump did receive 54 percent of the 8th District’s vote, but does that justify ignoring constituents who disagree with his agenda? Indeed, our members include Republicans who voted for you, but recoil at the president’s agenda and want you to address it at a town hall.

 

As for the president’s “latitude to govern,” we ask, “how much latitude, and at what cost?” He has twice signed un-American Muslim bans that — according to a leaked DHS report — will not make us safer. He also called for a border wall that American taxpayers (not Mexico) will pay tens of billions to construct, and his deportation directives disrupt our non-violent neighbors’ lives. Rather than “drain the swamp,” he tasked career politicians and billionaire lobbyists with dismantling decades of pro-social regulations. He seeks to repeal the Affordable Care Act despite your party’s inability to present a replacement that would make quality healthcare affordable to all Americans. And every day we learn more about his campaign’s communication with Russian officials while that country meddled in our election. Again, how much latitude, and at what cost?

 

You say you “will not be a rubber stamp for the President.” But according to fivethirtyeight.com you have cast every single vote this Congress in support of the Trump agenda. Further, your Jan. 30 statement defended the illegal, un-American, and unsafe Muslim ban, and only quibbled with its rollout. We are heartened to read about your concern with Russian meddling in our election, but why haven’t you called for an independent investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia? In short, if you’re not a rubber stamp for the President, prove it.

 

Finally, you argue that despite this year’s “hectic calendar” you have “met with groups of veterans, off roaders, conservationists, and active duty troops — among many others.” Sure, but you have not given advance public notice for these meetings (as you did prior to the Trump administration). So you meet with groups of your choosing on your terms, and anyone else can send an e-mail and wait for a generic response. Taxpaying constituents deserve more.

 

You served our country courageously. Now we ask you to find a bit of that courage and hold a public town hall during April recess. It not, we’ll arrange one for you with plenty of advance notice. If you decline, we’ll invite others who are interested in your job, and we’ll save you an empty seat. We hope it doesn’t come to that, though. Many of us would love to put a face (other than the one on missing posters and milk cartons) to the name.

 

T.C. Corrigan is founder of the Indivisible group of the San Bernardino Mountains. He penned this op-ed with the help of and on behalf of other members of Indivisible groups of California’s 8th District from Barstow, Big Bear, Eastern Sierras, Morongo Basin, Mount Baldy, Victor Valley and the Yucaipa area.

It’s Getting Hot in the Cook-House!

The Hi-Desert Star Opinion pages have been flooded with resistance action over the last week.  Thank you to all you letter-writers, and please keep it up!

Guest Soapbox:

Letters to the Editor:

(Note:  Find contact information for submitting your letters to the editor of newspapers throughout the 8th District here.)

In the Star March 2 edition, the feature “Word on the Street” posed the question, “Do you think Congressman Paul Cook should hold a town hall meeting?”  Of the six responses from residents across the Basin, five were in favor of a town hall.  Several comments made note that courtesy and avoiding shouting were necessary to have a productive event, and one suggested that Cook “could livestream it as well, seeing as how his district covers a large territory and not everyone can be there in person.”

Indivisible MB puts the pressure on Cook as vigil comes off without a hitch

Indivisible Morongo Basin made its local protest debut in Yucca Valley on February 28 with our “Pray for Paul” silent candlelight vigil, with over 80 people in attendance. The action came off perfectly as a result of really impressive planning and execution by a dedicated team of Indivisible members who made it look easy. THANK YOU for your skill, commitment, and vision to Yolanda, Patty, Marya, Kit, Jill, Eva S., and Eva M., as well to our security volunteers, sign-makers, and everyone else who contributed. We’ll append photos/video when we have them.

The inspiration for our vigil came from the hardworking members of other District 8 Indivisibles, especially Victor Valley and SB Mountains, who developed their own vigil in Apple Valley.  View the video from Apple Valley here, and read about it in the San Bernardino Sun.

Here’s coverage of our local vigil and the standoff with Congressman Paul Cook from the March 2 edition of the Hi-Desert Star:

At an impasse over town halls:  Cook says no to ‘chaotic meetings’

 

By Stacy Moore, Hi-Desert Star

 

YUCCA VALLEY – Residents of the HI-Desert tried to keep up the pressure on U.S. Rep. Paul Cook with a mock candlelight vigil Tuesday, but the congressman isn’t budging.

 

The locals are calling for Cook to hold a town hall in his 8th District, but Cook is standing firm on his decision not to host a public meeting.

 

“I’ll continue meeting with constituent groups just as I have in the past – including those which disagree with me, but do so in a constructive manner,” Cook wrote in an editorial Wednesday.

 

“However, I won’t attend chaotic political protests which accomplish little and jeopardize the safety of participants, my staff, or me.”

 

The congressman and his spokesman’s descriptions of demonstrators as politically extreme agitators who could turn violent are not playing well with the residents taking part in the “Where is Paul Cook” movement.

 

“We are not a fringe.  We’re upstanding Americans who value our democracy and we want an opportunity to express our views for him to take back to Washington, “ Eva Soltes, a spokeswoman for indivisible Morongo Basin, said at Tuesday’s vigil.

 

Chapters of Indivisible, a group founded in the wake of Donald Turmp’s election, are using a tongue-in-cheek “missing” campaign to spotlight his choice not to host a town hall.

 

At the candlelight vigil, constituents stood at the corner of Twentynine Palm Highway and Old Woman Springs Road as the sun set.  They held LED candles and “missing person” fliers with Cook’s image.

 

“He has nothing to fear; we are very peaceful people,” Soltes said.  “We just want to explain our concerns.”

 

One of their biggest concerns is health care; Trump voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act before under the Obama administration, and Republicans are now working on what they say will be a repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

 

Cook spokesman Michael Fresquez said last week the Indivisible members refuse to accept that the ACA must be repealed, and that makes them a fringe group.

 

“The extreme part of their political agenda is their unwillingness to accept changes to Obamacare or admit that any part of it has failed,” he said.  “It has resulted in higher premiums for many people, many aren’t allowed to see the doctor they want, and fewer and fewer insurance companies are participating in the exchanges.  The result for many is reduced quality of care and less affordable care.”

 

Soltes said Tuesday their concern about health care is a life-or-death matter.  GOP proposals would lower tax credits for customers on the health care exchanges, raising costs, according to reports from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute. “Because of the health care agenda being proposed, people could die,” Soltes said.

 

A post from Cook’s office on his Facebook page Tuesday asked for constituents’ thoughts on the ACA.  It had garnered 199 comments by Wednesday evening.

 

Another topic at the candlelight vigil was immigration and deportation.

 

“I’m a citizen of the United States and because of Trump’s immigration policy, I feel compelled to carry my birth certificate with me at all times,” Yolanda Brown, another Indivisible spokeswoman, said.

 

“If I’m in fear, and I was born here, I’m sure I’m not the only one.”

In Cook’s editorial, he said he has been “unwavering” on both health care and immigration for years.

 

“Voters made a clear choice in my last election, and I plan to keep my word to fight for my long-held positions:  Obamacare is deeply flawed and must be repealed and replaced with a better plan,” he wrote.  “Any new plan must roll back Obamacare regulations and mandates while ensuring that Americans have access to quality care to fit their budget.”

 

He said America must secure its borders before reforming immigration law.  “The borders are not secure; we must provide more resources for our border enforcement to stop not only illegal immigration but the flow of drugs, criminals and victims of human trafficking into the United States,” he wrote.

 

While Cook stood firm in his vow that he won’t host a town hall, Indivisible members said they aren’t going to stop.

 

“I hope he realizes our group is persistent, we’re strong in our beliefs and most importantly,” said Brown, “we’re not going anywhere.”