Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley/The Press-Enterprise

Published: 22 January 2012 07:52 PM

Workin’ It

When Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. visited Riverside last week, a lot of the discussion was about the jobs created by goods movement and related construction projects such as the Magnolia Avenue underpass.

Add Laurence Parker to the job-creation list. Parker, waving an American flag and dressed as the Statue of Liberty, crashed Boxer’s presser to get a little attention for Liberty Tax Service, which has an office on Magnolia just north of the underpass. Usually he just stands in front of the office to draw the attention of drivers, much like a sign-spinner.

Seeing a good thing, he ventured down to where television cameras had gathered. He receives a bonus, he said, if he gets some attention for the business. And it helps him keep his job as the face of the franchise.

Parker drew a shout-out from the senator, who came to town to tout federal funding for local overpass projects.

“While Lady Liberty is waving the flag, let me say this: We don’t have our liberty and freedom while we are stuck in traffic,” Boxer said.

Getting back to work

A little spinal fusion isn’t going to keep Assemblyman Paul Cook from missing out on legislative business or a competitive congressional race.

Cook, R-Yucca Valley, went under the knife Dec. 3 and had his spinal column fused in three places. The surgery was the second major operation on Cook’s back, which was peppered with shrapnel when the former Marine was wounded in Vietnam.

Cook, however, was in the Assembly when it reconvened Jan. 4, standing out in a large brace and neck collar. On Jan. 12, he announced he was running for the 8th Congressional District, which stretches from Yucaipa to beyond Mono Lake.

“I look like a goofball with the collar on. People kid me that I’m doing it so I don’t have to wear a tie,” Cook said.

His recuperation is going smoothly, Cook added, and he hopes to lose the brace soon. “I’m certainly not doing push-ups. You’ve just got to be patient,” he said.

Cook said he has been cleared for the coming campaign in a field that includes several other Republicans, including San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt.

“If the surgery had gone south, I wasn’t going to run for anything,” Cook said.

Momentum seen

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