Paul Cook, Republican congressman for California’s 8th Congressional District, has apparently gone missing. From town hall meetings, that is. A clever guerrilla marketing campaign looking to guilt-trip Cook into taking a public meeting with his local constituents—an ostensible gauntlet, given how Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton recently fared at his town hall—has taken to plastering “missing” stickers on milk cartons to gin up public outrage for Cook’s seeming delinquency. Of course, since the usual subjects of milk carton campaigns are children, seeing a grown man in a suit and tie looking up at you from a carton of 2% underlines the absurdity of the situation.
“Despite constituents’ requests, refuses to hold town hall,” reads a bullet point on the sticker created by a group called “Where Is Paul Cook?” “Can be found voting for Trump agenda 100% of the time.” Photos of the milk cartons have been making the rounds on social media.
In a statement to The Press Enterprise, the daily newspaper serving California’s Riverside County, which Cook represents, Cook spokesman Michael Fresquez wrote that the congressman had in fact “held smaller previously-scheduled constituent meetings this week” but that Cook was duty-bound to spend most of his time in Washington, D.C., for the first 100 days of Trump’s administration.
“Rep. Cook believes in an open and productive dialogue with constituents, and there are many ways to express an opinion to him,” the statement continued. “This year, despite his hectic schedule, Rep. Cook has met with veterans, offroaders, conservationists, and active duty troops—among many others.”
The face on the milk carton, of course, reads more like a “wanted” sign than a missing person sticker. But the ethos is that of concerned citizens looking for their man. A link on the website WhereIsPaulCook.com invites locals to join a search party to find the congressman. “Concerned citizens in California’s 8th Congressional District have banded together to help search for Congressman Paul Cook,” the website says. “The 8th District is massive, so is our determination to find Congressman Cook and urge him to come home for a widely publicized, in-person town hall in the Victor Valley.”