Republican State Rep. Byron Cook of Corsicana, a loyal advocate of moderate House Speaker Joe Straus and chairman of the powerful State Affairs Committee, has repeatedly bullied local businesses in his district who allow his conservative opponent, Bobby Vickery, to put up signs on their property. Reports of Cook’s abuse of power go back as far as the 2012 Republican Primary election, when Vickery first challenged Cook.
Eddie Moore, owner of Moore Tire and Auto in Corsicana reports that Cook stopped by his place of business after noticing a Bobby Vickery campaign sign in front of his auto repair shop. Cook berated Mr. Moore for allowing the sign to be put up before storming off, then returned to confront Moore again after he won the primary.
You can watch Mr. Moore’s account of the confrontation here.
This was no isolated incident however.
More reports have surfaced that Byron Cook approached the manager of a local Dollar General store demanding a Vickery campaign sign outside be taken down. When the manager didn’t take the sign down fast enough, Cook took his demands to the regional Dollar General office, who then later took Cook’s complaint all the way to their corporate headquarters.
The local store ultimately took the sign down.
It’s little surprise why Cook resorts to bullying his own constituents. In the later half of 2013, Cook didn’t raise a single dollar in campaign contributions from inside his district—earning him the moniker “Representative Zero.” A subsequent campaign-finance report reveals Cook is still drawing blanks on in-district financial support through February 3 of this year.
During the last legislative session, Cook was most notable for using his position as chairman of the State Affairs Committee to hold up a bi-partisan transparency bill that would have required legislators to disclose any contracts they or their immediate family members have with a government entity. Cook was also an adamant supporter of a Democrat-authored bill granting illegal immigrants the ability to obtain driver’s licenses.
Cook is one of the original 11 Republicans who joined forces with 65 Democrats to overthrow then-Speaker Tom Craddick in January of 2009 in favor of moderate Speaker Joe Straus. It was at Cook’s home where the planning meeting to overthrow Craddick took place.
Cook has a cumulative “D” rating on the Fiscal Responsibility Index, earning his lowest score ever—42 out of 100—during the most recent legislative session. He also scored a 44 on the Young Conservatives of Texas 2013 scorecard, a 25 on the Grassroots Texans Network scorecard, and a 57 on the American Conservative Union rankings of the Texas State House of Representatives.
Learn more about Byron Cook’s record at RepByronCook.com.