Leader Blues

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

TOP STORY >> Cook kicks off mayoral campaign

Alderman Eddie Cook has announced that he is running for mayor of Cabot. 

Leader staff writer

Cabot Alderman Eddie Cook on Monday evening became the second candidate to announce his intention to run for mayor.
Bill Cypert, an original member of the four-year-old Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission, was the first.

“You’re all friends and family and I appreciate y’all for coming,” Cook told his audience. I know I’m going to have your support and it’s going to make this a lot easier.”

Cook, who has served on the city council for five years, told the 40 or so well-wishers who gathered in the council chambers at the city annex that he was following the example set by his father, Ed Cook, who served as a council member in DeWitt for many years. He watched his father have a positive impact on the community where he grew up and he knew he could have a positive impact on Cabot, he said.

Cook said he had given considerable thought to his campaign platform and, in a nutshell, he intends to keep things going the way they are going now.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the current mayor (Eddie Joe Williams),” he said.

His budgets will be conservative; improvements to streets and drainage will continue, and he will continue building the good relationships needed to get things done for Cabot, he said.

Cook said one of his biggest accomplishments has been the extension of a one-cent sales tax to pay for projects that the city had no way of funding. The tax has paid for the city’s sewer-treatment plant, and helped build the animal shelter, community center and railroad overpass as well as paying about $2 million for street improvements.

He said in a later interview that in part because the current council works well together, the number of ordinances passed this year is about half that of recent years.

“That’s good, he said. “We don’t need big government. We don’t need to be watching over citizens and telling them what they can and can’t do.”

Much of the 30-minute long announcement was taken up with Cook’s campaign Web site, www.EddieCook.net, which he said has had about 1,500 hits so far.

On that site, Cook, 41, lists these qualifications for mayor:

More than 20 years of management experience in various industries, including city leadership roles with demonstrated success.

Expertise in management, team building, staffing and employee relations.

Proficient in cost containment, capital-asset oversight, strategic planning, budgeting and finance, and human-resource development.

Quick learner with an ability to rapidly achieve organizational integration, assimilate job requirements and use new methodologies. Energetic and self-motivated team player/builder. At ease in high-stress environments.Effectively handle and multi-task levels of responsibility.

Experienced in developing and executing city policies and procedures.
Cook was among the council members who worked for more than a year on a new animal-control ordinance.

During committee meetings, Cook frequently referred to penguins during discussion about problems and solutions. “I’ve got three penguins in my backyard...,” he would begin.

Eventually, penguins were everyone’s metaphor for the issue and other council members began leaving stuffed penguins and penguin cards on his chair at the council table.

The T-shirt shop Cook owns will sell campaign T-shirts to raise money for his campaign, but the proceeds from the penguin shirts, which also are campaign shirts, will go to the animal shelter.

Cook is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He is alderman for Ward 1, Position 2.

He has chaired the city’s budget committee for three years and says he is very proud that the city budget is conservative and that the budget process has been streamlined.

Cook’s campaign manager is Misty Redd. Denny Tipton designed his Web site.

Bill Cypert has also developed a Web site, www.billforcabot.com.