Why I’m Running

The Cooke Children


My father Charles Cooke was a Seattle Fire Captain and a staunch conservative.  My mother Michael Rae Cooke, who served for almost two decades as the Federal Aviation Administration’s Freedom of Information Act officer over the Northwest Mountain Region, is also a conservative.  Growing up I always gravitated towards the conservative side of the aisle but I couldn’t have told you why.  That changed in the autumn of 2008, after John McCain – a centrist candidate – lost to Barack Obama.  I was crushed and disillusioned.  The loss came on the heels of what I considered a disastrous eight years for conservatives under President George W. Bush.  Republicans had gone wild in terms of spending and social programs.  So why should government restrict itself?  What should government address and not address?  When had government “crossed the line”?  I couldn’t have said.

My father Charles Cooke in 1978

I embarked on what turned into a multi-year process of trying to learn.  The first thing I read was a compilation of political documents from our nation’s history called “We the People – Great Documents of the American Nation” compiled by Jerome B. Agel.  It included hundreds of key documents from our nation’s history, everything from the Northwest Ordinance to FDR’s Second Bill of Rights to Carter’s Malaise speech.  I got a hold of ten hours of Reagan speeches on MP3 on Amazon.  I followed podcasts of “Great Speeches” and the Federalist papers.  I read many conservative classics.  It was actually a great time.

What I eventually learned was basically what the Founders understood- that our individual rights come from our Judeo Christian heritage.  Like it, love it or leave it, when the U.S. Founders used the phrase “life, liberty and property”, they understood that these rights come directly from Genesis 1:28, the so-called “dominion mandate” – multiply, fill the earth, subdue it.  It takes all three of those individual rights to accomplish that.  Life.  Liberty.  Property.

Now I want to say right here that all value systems are ultimately arbitrary because you can’t derive values from facts, you can only derive other facts from facts.  To morally assess any fact – such as “the tree fell on Bill” – you must first adopt a world view such as “it’s great when trees fall on Bill”, or, “it’s horrible when trees fall on Bill”, etc.  (The technical term for this concept BTW is “Hume’s Gap”).  I realize that our state’s historical Judeo Christian background is every bit as arbitrary as modern secular ethics.  But objectively I think our historical values have produced the greatest degree of prosperity and individual liberty in the history of the world.  And I think, on the other hand, that secular attempts at engineering society have been a general disaster.

So getting back to what I think government should do, it’s to protect individual life, liberty and property.  That’s why I believe government should for the most part be limited to external self-defense, punishing fault, ensuring fair standards for trade & contracts, handling a handful of natural monopolies (roads, infrastructure, fire, safety, water, sewer, etc.) and providing a very basic safety net.

And to crystalize these down for the State of Washington today, it’s to charge lower taxes, provide congestion relief and to put Washingtonians and the 47th District first in terms of our legislative priorities, not special interests such as the radical green lobby, public sector unions, the majority of voters in the Seattle metro area, international corporations, etc.

This all being the case I was upset by the most recent legislative session in Olympia because so many of the bills narrowly and exclusively legislated the values of just one side of the aisle.

  • Mandatory payment of abortion by all employers including churches and religious groups (SB 6219)
  • Holding any mental health professional who counsels a youth to overcome gender dysphoria or same sex attraction guilty of professional misconduct (SB 5722)
  • Allowing a court to grant visitation with children to any individual based on the undefined phrase “substantial relationship” against the parents’ wishes (SB 5598)
  • Allowing persons from anywhere in the world to buy and sell children with the State’s blessing as long as the contract is written up prior to the child’s conception (SB 6037)
  • Pretending to allow the voluntary waiver of the 2nd Amendment (SB 5553)
  • Publicizing of the names of the top ten individuals who donate to any PAC (SB5991)
  • Making it easier to prosecute police officers by pretending to divine their intent (HB 3003)

I looked into what it would take to be a legislator and realized I could make it work in terms of time and family budget.  And I came to the conclusion that I would reproach myself if I did not run.

Any time government goes beyond punishing basic fault to trying to mandate what some self-enlightened masterminds think are correct thought, correct non-fault daily behavior, or someone’s subjective preferred way of living, government has gone too far.

We could eliminate two regulations for every one we pass for the next thirty years and our RCWs would still be completely bloated.  We could reduce the transportation budget by 30% and if we focused the remainder on actual congestion relief make a real difference.  We could allow state employees a right to work and decrease the conflict of interest in representation.  All of these things are doable and I believe everyone would prosper if we did them.

I pledge that if elected I will work for government to be in it’s proper scope, and to borrow the words of Reagan, “to make it work–work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.”