A staunch opponent of Klamath Dam removal and a self-described “pragmatic solution finder,” Siskiyou County Supervisor Jim Cook is campaigning to serve a third term on the Board of Supervisors.

A staunch opponent of Klamath Dam removal and a self-described “pragmatic solution finder,” Siskiyou County Supervisor Jim Cook is campaigning to serve a third term on the Board of Supervisors.

Originally elected in 2004, Cook has spent nearly eight years representing District 1, which covers the entire eastern half of the county, stretching from McCloud all the way north to Montague, Dorris and Tulelake.

One of the things he’s most proud of since becoming a supervisor is the progress made in coordination – the process by which local governments can sit down and work with federal agencies and bureaucracies, Cook explained.

Cook said he introduced the concept of coordination to the county, and he believes it has become a successful tool in gaining respect for Siskiyou County residents, particularly on issues regarding dam removal and forestry.

Cook said he was taking a class from Fred Kelly Grant, a coordination expert, and brought his ideas to the board a few years ago.

“Coordination is a process, it’s not a silver bullet,” said Cook, who considers himself to be a conservative Republican. “It won’t stop the agencies from doing something, it’s about getting agencies to sit down and talk to you, and I think we’ve been doing that.”

Biggest issues
Cook said he sees government overregulation and overreach as the biggest problems facing the county today.

“The county government should be helping expand the market for startup businesses as well as helping established businesses grow. We shouldn’t be throwing up barriers,” Cook said. “Agriculture creates jobs, and the timber industry is not dead. We could expand that industry and increase the use of our forests, which are a big asset.”

Cook is also concerned about the local economy.

He said in the past unemployment would be high in Siskiyou County in the winter months, but would drop significantly in the summer. “We need jobs in this county. We need to focus on economic development as it relates to job creation.”

Thoughts on McCloud
Though his district is varied geographically, Cook said there are more commonalities than differences between the communities he represents.

While McCloud depends heavily on tourism, so does the community of Tulelake in the far northeastern corner of the county, he said.

“I think the community of McCloud needs to find a direction,” Cook said. “If they decide to focus on tourism, the town needs to brand themselves to niche markets... and this could be done along with Tulelake and other Siskiyou County destinations. That’s not something that’s going to be driven by the Board of Supervisors, or the county. It’s got to be grassroots.”

Cook also pointed to McCloud’s other assets, including the mill site and its clean air and water.
“The Nestle project really divided the community,” Cook said. “Those wounds haven’t fully healed, and they resurface easily.”

Once the community unites with a purpose, economic development will be easier to realize in McCloud, he said.

Background and experience
Cook is a member of the third generation of his family to live and work in Siskiyou County. He grew up in the Ontario/Chino area of southern California and attended Cal Poly University, receiving bachelors and masters degrees in biology.

Cook moved to Siskiyou County in 1980. He and his wife, Ann, raised two sons in the Shasta Valley.
Cook spent 25 years working for Great Northern Corporation in the non-profit’s water and wastewater, economic development grant and habitat restoration programs.

He also served on various school boards and the farm bureau board – all of which gave him the experience and background to effectively work in a group and resolve problems, Cook said.

When asked why he’s running for reelection, Cook replied, “The same reason I originally ran... I owe this county, which has been so good to me. Anything I can do to make my neighbors’ lives better, I’ll do it.”
Contact Cook

Cook can be reached for comments or concerns by calling (530) 459-0459. You can also email him at jimcook@snowcrest.net