Residents of House District 8 have long been annoyed that their representative, State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), flat out refuses to open a district office — despite the fact the state allocates funds specifically for that purpose. The argument against “unnecessarily spending state funds” is one easily dismissed by his liberal voting record, simply leaving the (albeit obvious) conclusion that Cook just doesn’t care about his constituents’ concerns.

While Cook can’t be bothered to spend constitutionally delegated funds for the drab task of interacting with the constituents he purports to represent, he is however fine with using his campaign donations for an Austin apartment — bilking his own donors for $3,800 a month so that he can more intimately interact with the lobby he truly represents year round.

Even worse, he uses his campaign account to pay for cable television for his Austin apartment — around $120 a month — ostensibly because he is there so often.

That Cook considers an Austin area apartment to constitute a campaign expenditure is telling enough. But it borders on absurdity that a state representative worth tens of millions in personal wealth would use his own donors to cover an Austin apartment complete with cable television while simultaneously refusing—for fourteen years—to operate a district office.

All told, it’s not all that surprising, considering his role as an establishment hatchet-man coupled with the fact that a meager 5% of his campaign contributions have come from within his own district (a dramatic improvement over last cycle, when 100 percent of his contributions were from out-of-district).

Perhaps it makes sense for him to campaign in Austin —after all, it’s the establishment cartel that Cook truly represents — not his constituents.

Cook’s tenure has been a long-running insult to the concerns of District 8 residents, but that doesn’t have to continue. Corsicana businessman Thomas McNutt is currently challenging Cook for his seat – and offers a stark contrast to the (mis)representation Cook’s constituents are currently getting.

“Texans deserve a real office where constituents can go get answers from their elected servants, not just a P.O. Box,” said McNutt in an official statement. “Once I am elected, opening up a district office to better serve our community will be a major priority.”

Greg Harrison

Gregory led the Central Texas Bureau for Empower Texans and Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he got involved politically through the Young Conservatives of Texas. He enjoys fishing, grilling, motorcycling, and of course, all things related to firearms.