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Cook vying for House 44

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Reece Murphy
rmurphy@thelancasternews.com
Kershaw attorney Bob Cook announced Tuesday he intends to join the race for the S.C. House District 44 seat now occupied by state Rep. James Neal.
Neal, also a Kershaw native, announced earlier this month he will not seek re-election this year after 14 years in office.
Cook, a Democrat, is the third candidate to announce a run for the seat.
“I feel that I can bring valuable experience to the table,” Cook said. “I have served the state of South Carolina in several capacities through the years and I hope to use my experience to continue the efforts of Rep. Neal and his predecessor, Billy Boan.
“Those two have done a tremendous job representing District 44 the past 30 years and I hope to carry that forward doing what is best for the district and the citizens of Lancaster County,” he said.
Though this is Cook’s first run for office, he has a life-long connection to politics – his great uncle was the late S.C. District 44 Rep. Garrett Mobley, who represented the district from 1962 to 1968.
But Cook also has his own experience in the world of politics.
After graduating from Andrew Jackson High School in 1997, Cook, 32, enrolled as a criminal justice major at the University of South Carolina, where he served on the S.C. House of Representatives staff.
After graduation in 2001, Cook served in the office of then-Gov. Jim Hodges overseeing the intern program and working with the governor’s legal counsel.
Cook began his legal career as a law clerk for S.C. 6th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Brooks P. Goldsmith Jr. covering Lancaster, Chester and Fairfield counties after graduating from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2005.
In 2006, he went on to serve two years as an assistant solicitor in Berkeley County’s 9th Circuit before taking a job in 2008 working for Camden attorney William Tetteton and moving home to Kershaw to open his own law practice in 2011.
“I’ve worked in all three branches of state government,” Cook said. “I don’t know how many people can bring that to the table.”
Cook said if elected, he will focus on economic development and job creation in Lancaster County and District 44.
He said as a small business owner, he knows the “pains” small business owners go through and wants to help develop opportunities for those who want to start a small business.
But Cook said he also knows that to create those opportunities, and put more Lancaster County residents to work, the infrastructure must be laid to attract larger employers as well.
That, he said, takes cooperation with local leaders.
“Now is not the time for partisanship, though,” Cook said. “The citizens of District 44 deserve a leader who will be able to do what is best for the people, not someone who’s going to play politics-as-usual and continue the gridlock in Columbia.
“The people deserve better,” he said.
For details, contact Cook at (803) 475-1282 or e-mail cookforschouse@gmail.com.
Cook is the latest candidate to announce a run for the District 44 seat.
First to announce his intentions to run earlier this month was Heath Springs businessman Joseph Coy, owner of J.A.C. Drywall and Coy’s Woodworking. Coy is running as a Republican.
Last Friday, Lancaster attorney Mandy Powers Norrell, a Democrat, announced she would also run for the seat.

Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151