Cook hopes to continue economic development work during second term
By ANDY MARTIN, March 13, 2008 Siskiyou Daily News
MONTAGUE - As he finishes his first term as Siskiyou
County supervisor for District 1, Jim Cook says economic
development has been one of his main focuses. He has
filed for a second term so can continue to help attract
businesses to Siskiyou County, and preserve businesses
Aside from economic development, Cook has been involved in natural resources issues, railroad issues and developing tourism in northeastern Siskiyou County. All are tied to economic development, he says.
’Economic development is also protection for our
agriculture industry,’ Cook said.
Cook’s vast district includes Montague, Copco, McCloud, Dorris, Macdoel and Tulelake. Agriculture is a big part of the district.
Cook said he opposes removal of the Klamath River dams, and supports fish passage instead.
He said it was important for the county to be part of
the negotiations for the settlement agreement for water
for farms and salmon in the Klamath River. The final
settlement agreement called for the removal of Siskiyou
County dams, but Cook said he and the other supervisors
oppose removing the dams.
’We walked in the door saying dam removal is not in the best interests of the county or the nation,’ Cook said. ’I think we needed to be at the table because that’s the only way we could protect irrigators. If we had not been there I think it would have been much harsher for Siskiyou County.’
Cook’s opponent, Montague rancher Leo Bergeron, is critical of the county’s involvement in the settlement agreement because of the consensus agreement that called for dams to be removed. Cook said other parties at the negotiations made dam removal a requirement of continued negotiations. Siskiyou County is on the record opposing dam removal, he said.
’We don’t have a lot of leverage,’ Cook said. ’Not
being at the table is not the way to do it. You have to
deal with these agencies.’
As a supervisor, Cook has made three trips to Washington, D.C., to fight for Siskiyou County. ’I just got back from a meeting in Washington D.C. telling legislators that dam removal is not the answer. Fish passage is a better way of doing things. We keep the dams, we keep the lakefront property, we keep the power generation.’
Cook has spent two decades working for Great Northern Corporation, helping Siskiyou County communities obtain funding for infrastructure improvements. He has gotten to know each Siskiyou County community, and the people and leaders there, which has helped him as a supervisor, he said.
Experience is a major issue for the June election,
Cook said. Two other supervisors are retiring.
’I would like to stay on the Board of Supervisors to keep the board from becoming a freshman board,’ he said. ’I really think I’ve learned a tremendous amount in the last three years and I’ve really hit my stride this year. I want to continue to serve the next four years.’
Cook’s family has been in Siskiyou County for four generations. ’Both of my sons were born here,’ he said.
Cook returned to Siskiyou County after moving around
a lot in his 20s and knew he had found his home here.
’Once I found my place I was done moving,’ he said.
’This county has just been great.’
Keeping railroads in Siskiyou County will have a major impact on the economy, Cook said.
’I have four shortline trains in my district,’ he said. ’Trains are important in my district and I would really like to see them do well and assist in hauling for our shippers.’
Developing tourism in the remote parts of the county
also have been a major focus of Cook.
’On Stateline Road, if they would put in numerous turnouts there, I think we would get a lot of tourists there to stop,’ he said. Stateline Road has the potential of being a premier waterfowl viewing area, Cook said.
With the national wildlife refuges, the northeastern part of the county can be a major tourism area, Cook said. ’I’m working with a couple of businesses in Tulelake to increase their tourism profile so tourists know they are there,’ he said. ’We are making Tule lake a tourist spot. We are doing the same thing in Dorris. Trying to capitalize on that area.’
Cook said he is continuing the fight against dam removal at a Congressional-style hearing later this month in Yreka. He wants to question agencies about dam removal and other options.