Debbie Cook

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Deborah Cook
Debbie Cook.jpg
99th Mayor of Huntington Beach
In office
Preceded by Gil Coerper
Succeeded by Keith Bohr
Huntington Beach City Council Member
In office
December 1, 2000 – December 1, 2008
Succeeded by Devin Dwyer
Personal details
Born (1954-01-22) January 22, 1954 (age 63)
Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) John Fisher
Alma mater California State University, Long Beach
Western State University College of Law
Profession Politician, Lawyer

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. She is president of the board of directors of the Post Carbon Institute.[1]

Early life[edit]

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, she 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[edit]

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[edit]

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.[2] 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.[citation needed]

City Council and Mayor[edit]

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[edit]

On February 2, 2008 Debbie Cook announced her Democratic candidacy for California's 46th congressional district against incumbent Republican Dana Rohrabacher.[3] Cook defeated Huntington Beach business owner Dan Kalmick in the June 3, 2008 primary for the Democratic nomination.[4]

The Treasurer of the California Republican Party filed suit against Cook and the Orange County Registrar regarding Cook's ballot designation.[5] The suit has been seen as frivolous and politically motivated. It was dismissed by the California Court of Appeals.[6]

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.[7] In the end, Cook failed to oust the incumbent, winning only 42.4% of the vote to Rohrabacher's 53.2%.[8]


  1. ^ "Around Town: Ex-H.B. mayor to discuss desalination at Women's Democratic Club meeting". Huntington Beach Independent. June 11, 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  2. ^ Billiter, Bill (November 9, 1990). "Political Novice Runs Big Developers Off the Beach: Environment: Debbie Cook didn't want buildings on the sand in Huntington Beach. And the voters showed Tuesday in passing Measure C that they don't either". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ Caesar, Chris (February 4, 2008). "HB mayor challenges Rohrabacher for Congressional seat". Daily Pilot. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ Bunis, Dena (2008-06-03). "Mayor, lawyer win in two Democratic congressional primaries". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  5. ^ Caesar, Chris (2008-03-26). "Ballot Suit Draws Criticism". The Daily Pilot. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  6. ^ "Official 10-page written document compilation" (PDF).  (39.0 KB) Published Fourth Appelate District, Division 3, Opinion. Sills with Rylaarsdam and Ikola Concurring
  7. ^ Bunis, Dena (2008-07-15). "Cook outraised Rohrabacher this spring". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  8. ^ "Orange County Vote Totals". 

External links[edit]