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Deborah "Debbie" Cook (Born January 22, 1954) is the former mayor of Huntington Beach, California, and was the Democratic candidate for California's 46th congressional district in 2008. Cook was elected to the Huntington Beach City Council in 2000 and re-elected in 2004.

Early life[]

Cook was born on January 22, 1954 in Corpus Christi, Texas where her father was stationed with the United States Navy. Her father served in both World War II and the Korean War. Debbie was baptized into the Episcopal Church by her grandfather, an Episcopal Minister, who also baptized her four brothers. Upon her father’s retirement from the Navy the family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1966 Cook and her family moved to California where Debbie attended Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, California. During high school Debbie was a runner-up in the Miss Newport Beach contest, earned a student pilot’s license, completed an Outward Bound course and successfully climbed Mount Whitney.

College, marriage and family[]

Cook attended California State University, Long Beach where she studied earth science. Cook also has a J.D from Western State University College of Law. Debbie worked part-time during college and excelled on both the women’s volleyball and swim teams. Cook met her husband, John Fisher, in a co-ed volleyball class during 1975 and they were married shortly later.

Cook and her husband settled in Westminster, California. Cook coached and taught volleyball in Huntington Beach, and served as Parent Teacher Association president for Vista View School in Fountain Valley.

In 1978 Debbie and John purchased a small office-equipment business which they ran for 14 years. During those years Cook obtained a patent for the business’s shelving system.

Political career[]

As a political novice in 1990, Cook was the main force behind the Huntington Beach city voter initiative Measure C, a pro-environment City Charter amendment that forbids sale or lease of park or beach land without a citywide vote.[1] Despite opposition by the city council majority being against the initiative, voters approved it.

At 37, Cook went to law school, earning a degree from Western State University and joining the California bar in 1994.

Cook served as attorney for the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, and took part in the efforts to preserve the Bolsa Chica Wetlands from development.

City Council and Mayor[]

Cook was elected to the Huntington Beach City Council in 2000, and was reelected in 2004. The office of the Mayor of Huntington Beach is a rotating position within the city council, and she has held that office twice.

She also has served as President of the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities, Chair of the League of California Cities Administrative Policy Committee and Chair of the Orange County Parks Commission.

She helped lead the fight to prevent the Orange County Sanitation District from massive dumping of partially treated wastewater into the ocean. In 2007, Huntington Beach joined the U.S. Mayor’s Agreement on Global Warming.

2008 campaign for Congress[]

On February 2, 2008 Debbie Cook announced her Democratic candidacy for California's 46th congressional district against incumbent Republican Dana Rohrabacher. Cook defeated Huntington Beach business owner Dan Kalmick in the June 3, 2008 primary for the Democratic nomination.[2]

The Treasurer of the California Republican Party filed suit against Cook and the Orange County Registrar regarding Cook's ballot designation.[3] The suit has been seen as frivolous and politically motivated. It was dismissed by the California Court of Appeals.[4]

According to FEC reports, Cook outraised Rohrabacher in the first and second quarters of 2008, although Rohrabacher in total had raised $323,966 compared to Cook's $157,269 by the end of the second quarter 2008.[5]

In the end, Cook failed to oust the incumbent, winning only 42.4% of the vote to Rohrabacher's 53.2%.[6]


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