While delivering a tepid speech covering the Straus coalition’s perspective on the recent legislative session to the Corsicana Chamber of Commerce, liberal Republican State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) neglected to say whether or not he was running for reelection.
That omission underlies Cook’s complete lack of enthusiasm for both listening to his own constituents and doing the work they elected him to do. That lack of enthusiasm has come to define the attitude with which Cook holds his elected office.
Cook has not just been an obstacle to conservative reforms throughout past sessions—he’s been downright hostile to them. Good legislation such as ethics reform for legislators and a measure to end the collusion between local governments and public employee unions fell victim to Cook’s chairmanship on State Affairs. Cook has worked in his capacity as chairman of the committee to thwart conservative reforms on illegal immigration and even gone so far as to author and push through the committee HB 4063 — a bill that would have given drivers’ permits to illegal aliens.
Although he didn’t state concretely whether or not he was running, Cook did provide the audience with a bland list of legislative accomplishments—straight from the establishment lexicon. He praised things like funding transportation and water as though they somehow would have fallen by the wayside were it not for him. Interestingly, he did take some time to attack the efforts of conservatives to end the Texas Enterprise Fund, a corporate welfare slush fund.
Now that accountability season is ramping up, Cook’s lack of enthusiasm for answering to his constituents is on full display. He didn’t raise a dollar before the July 15th deadline, hasn’t stated or announced his reelection, and is giving milquetoast speeches that read like mass-manufactured talking points straight off an establishment consultant’s desk.
It’s no surprise that Cook is less-than-overjoyed to be back in the district gearing up for a campaign — he’s betrayed the constituents he’ll have to answer to at every turn. His political career is dead in the water and it’s looking more and more every day like he knows it.