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Rep. Kevin Cooke
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Kevin Chad Cooke (R-Carrollton)
District 18 (Carroll and Haralson counties)
A licensed real estate appraiser, Cooke’s top donors are executives with Chick-fil-a and East West Express Inc., a trucking company. Other donors include his employer, family members and Carrollton businessman Steve Adams.
Billing himself as a strict constitutionalist and advocate of states’ rights, Cooke in his first term co-sponsored a resolution calling for repeal of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave voters rather than state legislatures the power to select members of the U.S. Senate. A second bill that he co-sponsored would create a state agency to find ways to challenge federal laws and regulations in court, including air-quality standards and “intervention” in the mining, timber and agricultural industries.
The American Legislative Exchange Council awarded a $212 “scholarship” to Cooke in 2011, records show. Corporate donors — including petroleum, pharmaceutical, utility, tobacco and health-care interests — funded the scholarships, which were meant to cover the costs of airfare and lodging to attend ALEC functions. The donations generally are not disclosed as lobbyist gifts, since ALEC does not have a registered lobbyist in Georgia.
- Collected 44 percent of the vote in an unsuccessful 2008 challenge to incumbent Rep. Mark Butler
- Elected with 53 percent of the 2010 primary vote to win the open seat that Butler left to run for labor commissioner
- Re-elected 2012 with 71 percent of the vote.
- Interstate Cooperation (2011 – present)
- Public Safety and Homeland Security (2011 – present)
- Reapportionment (2013 – )
- Regulated Industries (2011 – present)
- State Planning & Community Affairs (2013 – )
- Real estate appraiser, Duffey Appraisals Inc.
Business ownership interests
- None disclosed
- Treasurer, BringLeadershipBack PAC, founded to encourage Rick Perry to rejoin the 2016 presidential race.
- None disclosed
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence in Carrollton valued at $111,000
- Residential property with 42 acres in Carrollton valued at $100,000
Payments from state agencies
- None disclosed
Cooke has raised more than $121,000 in political donations since 2007. Contributions broken down by election cycle:
- 2007-08: $23,231
- 2009-10: $23,619
- 2011-12: $41,638
- 2013-14: $26,574
- 2015-16: $6,600
- Reported cash on hand (Feb. 2016): $6,021
- $19,814 House Speaker David Ralston & other Republican lawmakers
- $18,674 Steve Hester, senior director for distribution at Chick-fil-a, and family members
- $9,400 Larry & Cherie Rogers, safety director at East West Express Inc. (trucking)
- $3,500 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
- $3,000 Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association
- $2,950 Duffey Appraisals Inc., Cooke’s employer
- $2,800 Georgia Association of Realtors
- $2,700 Rick Tillman, optometrist
- $2,650 Altria, parent company of Philip Morris USA
- $2,500 Associated General Contractors of Georgia
- $2,250 Cliff and Ann-Margret Perkins, Carrollton, Ga., attorneys
- $2,100 Georgia Dental Association
Candidates may give campaign funds to other candidates, a practice that some say provides a legal means to circumvent contribution limits. A 2003 bill to ban such transfers altogether passed in the Senate but died in the House. Cooke’s committee made these donations:
- 2009-10: $1,000
- 2011-12: $9,750
- 2013-14: $9,550
- 2015-16: $1,250
Lobbyists have reported paying for meals and other gifts for Cooke valued at more than $3,100 since 2010. The big spender: Georgia Power Co. ($593). The breakout by year:
- 2010: $72
- 2011: $1,125
- 2012: $1,032
- 2013: $452
- 2014: $141
- 2015: $241
- 2016: $102 through Jan. 31
Committee days & travel expenses
When out of session, legislators may collect $173 per day plus mileage for committee meetings or other official business. (Per diem was $127 until 2007.) Those living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging.
- 2011: $1,229 (6 days)
- 2012: $2,583 (12 days)
- 2013: $3,490 (16 days)
- 2014: $2,428 (11 days)
- 2015: $4,718 (20 days)
Posted Sept. 28, 2012; updated Feb. 20, 2016