Eddie Cook – Gilbert Town Council Election 2018

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Age:  57

Educational Background:  Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Arizona State University

Current employer/job:  NetApp Inc. / technical account manager and Town of Gilbert Councilmember/former vice-mayor

List of community organization I belong to:

Arizona Municipal Water Users Association – Vice President

Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Domestic Violence Council – Vice Chairman

Maricopa Association of Governments Economic Development Council – Board of Directors

Greater Phoenix Economic Council Healthcare Council – Liaison to the Gilbert Town Council

League of Arizona Cities and Towns Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee – Board Member

Gilbert Parks and Recreation Board – Liaison to the Gilbert Town Council

Gilbert Arts Commission – Liaison to the Gilbert Town Council

Gilbert Redevelopment Commission – Liaison to the Gilbert Town Council

Gilbert Chamber of Commerce – Liaison to the Gilbert Town Council

Roosevelt Water Conservation District – Liaison to the Gilbert Town Council

Gilbert Talks – Advisory Board Member

St. Timothy’s Catholic Church Music Ministry

Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Marriage Conference Committee

Child Crisis Arizona – Volunteer

Boost a Foster Family – Volunteer

Arizona Republican GOP Asian American Committee

Arizona Asian American Association

Immediate family:  Wife Jenny and five children

Year you moved to Gilbert:  1986

Last book read:  “Mastering Civility:  A Manifesto for the Workplace” 

Why are you running for or seeking another term on Town Council?

I ran for Council in 2011 after realizing that I could better serve my community by bringing business ideas to the town’s government.  I could not be more excited to continue to work with a team whose hearts are about service for our community. The transformation of the town into a higher performance government guided by corporate best business practices and changing the culture to reflect a “One Team” spirit has been remarkable.  I’m extremely pleased with the progress of the Town during my two terms and am excited to continue our efforts to “Build a Legacy for Gilbert” during my next term.

Assuring Fiscal Responsibility and fostering Economic Development are my top two priorities.  As a team the Council has developed the Town of Gilbert Strategic Plan to identify six strategic initiatives to guide our efforts for the next five years.  They are focused on the following areas:  Long Range Financial Planning, Long Range Infrastructure Planning, Driving Economic Development, Implementing an Efficient High-Performance Government, Becoming a Technology Leader, and Community Livability (Clean, Safe and Vibrant).  I have and will continue to bring corporate best business practices into our local government to provide the highest level of services at the lowest possible cost.

I’m very grateful and humbled to have served on the Council these past 7 years.  I look at this role as an extension of my “community service” that I’ve done for years here in Gilbert and the region.  I gladly accept the responsibility to represent all of Gilbert.  I enjoy meeting with residents, business owners, faith leaders, town employees and educational leaders. I will continue to represent the residents of Gilbert by embracing the practices of transparency and listening and sharing of ideas as we learn from each other.

FOR INCUMBENTS: Briefly explain your three most significant accomplishments.

  1. One of my strengths is that I come from a large business environment. I have now experienced six budget cycles as a Councilmember, working with the Town’s executive management team and staff. My business background and experience allowed me to facilitate the Town adopting the enterprise business practice of “Zero Based/Priority Based Budgeting” so that we fund only those things that should be funded.  This process has transformed the Town of Gilbert to become a very efficient and high performance business-like entity.  The results have awarded the Town of Gilbert two AAA bond rating increases from Finch and Moody.  The financial benefits for the Town and its citizens will be felt for years to come.
  2. Working with the Town Manager, Town Council and Economic Development team, we focused our efforts to create 5 business corridors with strategic plans to attract businesses to select Gilbert as their new home. My corporate business background in sales and marketing have complimented our team’s overall success for the Town of Gilbert.  The success of our Downtown in the Heritage District is the envy of the Valley of the Sun.  Families enjoy the diversity of Arizona based restaurants providing a destination to enjoy community socialization.  The Rivulon campus along the 202 Central Business District provides Class-A office spaces for high wage jobs.  Recently we announced Deloitte selected Gilbert for their expansion into the Phoenix market.  Deloitte will provide 2500+ jobs with salaries above $95K.  The impact of executing on our economic strategic plans over the last 5 years has led to 10,627 announced jobs, $1.1 billion dollars of private capital investment and over 6.7 million square feet of commercial construction.  Having a very strong commercial and retail businesses thriving in Gilbert provides a well-balanced tax revenue source that supports all the wonderful services our citizens expect from local government.  I have led our Council to adopt the most Freedom-loving, Church-friendly and Pro-Business sign code in the nation.  I also led our Council to reduce/eliminate 5 categories of business taxes to benefit our small businesses in Gilbert.
  3. A couple of years ago as the Town of Gilbert was updating our Park and Recreation master plan, I had an idea for the Town to purchase 200+ acres of Maricopa County floodplain property in South Gilbert. My vision was to take the concepts of Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale and Kiwanis Park in Tempe and combine them into a single regional park in South Gilbert.  I was able to convince our County Supervisors of this vision.   We then turned it over to our leadership team of Gilbert and Maricopa County to work out the details.  Now Gilbert has a perpetual easement agreement with Maricopa County for this property at the cost of $10.  Phase 1 begins construction this September with a completion in 2019.  This new Regional Park in South Gilbert will be an amazing amenity that residents and businesses have been desiring to have for many years.

How can the Town Council promote commercial-residential balance in Gilbert?

The Town of Gilbert’s General Plan is the Community’s vision and guide for future physical, economic, residential, commercial and social development. It is a long-range policy document covering a period of 10-20 years. The General Plan contains visions, goals, policies, and implementation strategies that guide decisions on how the Town grows and looks in the future, areas appropriate for residential, employment and commercial uses, parks and open space areas, the location of new roads, and energy and resource conservation. The General Plan seeks to assure that decisions are consistent with the Community’s vision.  The Town Council uses the General Plan as a guideline in helping make important policy decisions.  The Town of Gilbert will be engaging the public soon to update the General Plan.

Gilbert has several large public projects in the works, including Gilbert Regional Park and the public safety training facility. How should the town approach paying for these types of projects?

The Town of Gilbert has a process called Capital Improvement Projects known as the CIP.  This process provides program and project management of future public infrastructure and prioritizes projects based on importance, risk and need.  The Town Council, Town Leadership, public and business stakeholders meet regularly to collaborate on the many public infrastructure projects for the next five years.  The CIP blends multiple sources of funds to construct public improvements. It also requires that the sources for maintaining and operating additional facilities be clearly identified prior to placement in the CIP. Gilbert has planned and followed a course of making sure that growth pays its own way.  A key component of that assurance is the establishment and use of System Development Fees (SDFs). SDFs may be used for construction, acquisition, or expansion of public facilities that are necessary public services.  Phase 1 of the new South Regional Park has already been paid for through SDF’s collected.  Borrowing for construction through issuance of long-term debt continues to be necessary to construct large scale projects. Repayment of the debt is through property taxes for general obligation bond projects, operating revenue for non-growth projects, and SDFs for growth-related projects. Other funding sources include grants, sale of Town owned property, intergovernmental agreements and developer contributions.  Recently the Town Council approved to call for a Special Election Bond to fund the Public Safety Training Facility.  The voters in Gilbert will decide either to support or not support a bond to fund this facility.

 What role should public funds play in the redevelopment of the Heritage District moving forward?

I’ve served as the Council Liaison to the Redevelopment Commission for the Heritage District for several years.   I have been involved with many of the projects that have found a home in our Downtown.   When I first was elected in 2011, the Downtown then did not look like it does today.   In working with the Town Council, Town Leadership and Economic team, we put together a strategy and executed on that plan to kick start the success we experience today.  Using public funds to build the first parking garage in the Downtown was the spark that initiated the development the Heritage Market Place that includes Zinburger, Lo-Lo’s, Pomo and Barrio Queen.  The Town looked at this as a partnership and joint investment that would create a destination to attract families to visit the Downtown.  Another important business decision was not to charge for public parking.  We have received a lot of feedback from the public of their appreciation not to charge for public parking.  The Town also owns a large portion of property in the Downtown.  It is the Town’s intent to systematically base our strategic business plans to sell those parcels.  Then the proceeds of the sell will be used for either capital improvements or maintenance and operations for the Downtown public infrastructure.  There may be a time that a future Town Council creates a policy, as the Downtown reaches build-out that a small District fee be included in your food bill designated for maintenance and operations for public infrastructure.

 What is the biggest challenge facing Gilbert over the next five years?

As I see Gilbert approaching 100% of build-out, we will have 330,000 residences living in Gilbert.  We will be the known as the “Best Place to Raise a Family” in the US.  Ranked “#1 Best City/Town to Find a Job” in the US.  Ranked the “Safest City/Town” in the US.  Ranked “#1 Best Place to Live in America”. Ranked the “#1 Happiest City in America”.  Ranked “1st Prosperous City in the Nation”.  Ranked “1st Best City to Start a Business” in the US.  Ranked the “Highest concentrations of graduate and professional degrees among US cities”.  All of this while maintaining the lowest cost in operating local government and providing the highest level of services to our citizens and business owners in the US.  Our greatest challenge is how to fund those services through long term financial planning.  With the collaboration of the Town Council and Town Leadership we have architected the following actions:  Long Term Revenue and Expenditure Forecasting, General Fund Five Year Plan, Streets Fund Five Year Plan, Water Fund Five Year Plan, Wastewater Fund Five Year Plan, Environmental Services Five Year Plan for Residential and Commercial, Long Range Infrastructure Plan, Capital Improvement Plan, Long Range Staffing Plan, Rates and Fee Analysis Plan and Debt Analysis Plan.  We established a Fiscal Policies that establishes a framework for overall fiscal planning and management that is based on fiscal conservative business practices.  We will continue to challenge ourselves to utilize best practices in communicating financial information to facilitate sound decision-making, to promote openness and transparency, and to inspire public confidence and trust.

What are your three primary goals if you are elected?

  1. Continue to create a culture that promotes families and businesses to enjoy the great virtues of Gilbert for being Safe, Clean and Vibrant. To keep Gilbert a place where trust, integrity, honest leadership, teamwork, respect, shared vision, collaboration, diversity are expectations from our citizens where we can together build a legacy.  And to continue fine- tuning the fiscal policies providing the highest services at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.  We live in the greatest municipality in the country.
  2. Protecting our undeveloped commercial properties from not changing to non-commercial. I’m committed to our strategic business plans that identify the 5 major business corridors as major employment and tax revenue centers.  These commercial properties are key to funding our best in class services to our residents and business owners long term.
  3. Long term forecasting as we move closer to build-out. Architecting the correct policies and tools that are accurate and measurable so the Town of Gilbert can be sustainable in providing the highest level of services expected by our residents and business owners at the lowest cost.

Our policies, strategies have created wonderful successes

Eddie Cook

By Eddie Cook

I ran for Council in 2011 after realizing that I could better serve my community by bringing business ideas to the town’s government. I could not be more excited to work with a team whose hearts are about service for our community.

The transformation of the town into a higher performance government guided by corporate best business practices and changing the culture to reflect a “One Team” spirit has been remarkable.

I’m extremely pleased with the progress of the Town during my two terms and am excited to continue our efforts to “Build a Legacy for Gilbert” during my next term.

Assuring fiscal responsibility and fostering economic development are my top two priorities.

As a team, the Council has developed the “Gilbert strategic plan” to identify six strategic initiatives to guide our efforts for the next five years. They are focused on the following areas:  balanced financial planning, long range infrastructure planning, driving economic development, implementing an efficient high-performance government, becoming a technology leader and community livability (clean, safe and vibrant).

We have successfully executed upon these initiatives and have seen the tremendous results that our residents and business owners benefit daily that are provided by the Town.

I’m very grateful and humbled to have served on the Council these past seven years. I look at this role as an extension of my “community service” that I’ve done for years here in Gilbert and the region.

During the last seven years we have created policies and strategic plans that have led to many wonderful successes such as the transformation of our Downtown Heritage District that is the envy of the Valley.

Our goals included: creating a family focused destination to build community while allowing our downtown businesses to thrive, becoming the safest community in Arizona and the second-safest in the country, maintaining the lowest taxes in the valley while providing the highest level of services, and keeping local government at the smallest number of town employees per 1,000 residents compared to any of our neighbors.

The town adopted the enterprise business practice of “zero based/priority based budgeting” so that we fund only those things that should be funded.  This process has transformed the town of Gilbert to become a very efficient and high performance business-like entity.

The results have awarded the Town of Gilbert two AAA bond rating increases from Finch and Moody. The financial benefits for the Town and its citizens will be felt for years to come.

Most recently we welcomed the announcement of Deloitte, a Fortune 100 company, which selected Gilbert for their expansion into the Phoenix market.  Deloitte will provide 2,500-plus jobs with salaries above $95K.

If you as a citizen and/or business owner have experienced and enjoyed these benefits, then I would suggest that you vote to keep the “one team” together.  We have a tremendous opportunity to build the “best legacy” together with your help.  Thank you for your consideration to re-elect me, Eddie Cook, as your councilmember for the Town of Gilbert.


Cook: Excited to continue building a legacy for Gilbert

Eddie Cook

By Eddie Cook – Aug, 05 2018

I’m extremely pleased with the progress of the Town during my two terms on the Council and am excited to continue our efforts to “Build a Legacy for Gilbert” during my next term.

I want to take this opportunity to share three very important initiatives as a councilmember that I’ve been actively leading on behalf of the Town of Gilbert: Ending domestic violence in Gilbert, new South Regional Park, protecting and assuring our water supply.

Nearly four years ago, the Town Council initiated an independent “needs assessment study” to understand the greatest needs of our community that local government currently does not provide services for.

The conclusion of the report indicated that domestic violence was the most important issue. For the last three years, I’ve taken the lead on behalf of the Town Council to understand the complete scope of domestic violence in Gilbert.

I’ve observed the entire process from the victims first call to police to the judge’s sentencing of the convicted. Gilbert families suffer deeply especially when children are involved.

I currently serve as the vice-chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments Domestic Violence Council. I’ve met with many agencies and non-profits working to end domestic violence.

This past January, working with Gilbert Police, prosecution and courts, I created and initiated a program called ENDVR: Ending Domestic Violence Responsibly. This program is designed to end domestic violence in Gilbert through our criminal justice system and partnership with our non-profits.

It is important that we focus on healing the family while breaking the cycle of domestic violence. The results so far have been tremendous.

Nearly three years ago, we initiated the update of the Gilbert Parks and Recreation Master Plan. I currently serve as the council liaison to the Gilbert Parks and Recreation Commission.

I suggested the purchase a large parcel of flood plain property in south Gilbert that is owned by the County. My vision was to transform this property to include similar amenities as those found in the parks of Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale and Kiwanis Park in Tempe while maintaining the flood plain requirements.

Our county supervisors embraced my vision and the Town was able to secure 225+ acres for only $10. Phase one begins construction in September and this regional park will be a huge benefit for our families in South Gilbert for generations to come.

Water in Arizona is a precious and critical resource that needs our full attention across all government agencies. On behalf of the Town of Gilbert, I currently serve as the vice president of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association.

This non-profit organization serves to protect 10 of our local municipalities to provide assured, safe, and sustainable water supplies to our communities.

We continually plan, innovate and develop strategies to make sure water is always available when you turn on your tap. The Town of Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch champions our leadership in water reclamation while providing a sanctuary for many specie


I’ll promote a culture of service and uphold values

Eddie Cook

By Eddie Cook – Aug, 12 2018

It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as a Councilmember and former vice mayor for the town of Gilbert.  I ran for Council in 2011 after realizing that I could better serve my community by bringing business ideas to the town’s government.

I could not be more excited to work with a team whose hearts are about service for our community. The transformation of the town into a higher-performance government guided by corporate best business practices and changing the culture to reflect a “One Team” spirit has been remarkable.

I’m extremely pleased with the progress of the town during my two terms and am excited to continue our efforts to “Build a Legacy for Gilbert” during my next term.

I want to share some endorsements that I’ve received in support for my re-election to the Gilbert Town Council. I’m very humbled and grateful for these endorsements. It confirms that our Town is moving in the right direction: focused on Gilbert families and businesses.

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, which represents over 700-plus businesses, has endorsed my re-election. My dedication and commitment to the success of our current business owners and my efforts to secure and attract new businesses to Gilbert were some of the highlights for this endorsement.

Jenn Daniels, Gilbert mayor: “Eddie Cook has contributed to the town by consistently looking for efficiencies, building partnerships and tirelessly advocating for our residents. I am proud to support Eddie Cook for re-election to the Gilbert Town Council.”

John Lewis, former Gilbert mayor: “It is with great joy that I announce my endorsement of Eddie Cook for Gilbert Town Council. Over the years, I have found Eddie to be one who leads with passion, integrity, vision and, most importantly, a servant’s heart. His commitment to transparency in government and common-sense decision making will allow Gilbert to continue to be a wonderful place to live and work.”

Howard Morris, Morrison Ranch: “Eddie Cook has been a tireless servant for the town of Gilbert. These characteristics show up in his business, his commitment to his family, as well as to his community. Eddie is sincere, a good listener, and pays attention to detail. We need to re-elect Eddie to our Town’s leadership team.”

Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney: “Eddie Cook has been a consistent conservative voice on Gilbert’s Town Council and has been a principled man we can count on to keep Gilbert’s quality of life among the best in the nation. I also appreciate his support for public safety that has contributed to Gilbert’s status as among the safest communities in our nation. I encourage Gilbert residents to join me in supporting Eddie Cook for Gilbert Town Council.”

Please join my supporters to help ensure Gilbert stays pro-family and pro-business, keeping Gilbert clean, safe and vibrant while together we “Build a Legacy for Gilbert.”

I’ll promote a culture of service and uphold the values of caring, fairness, responsibility, respect, trustworthiness and citizenship, which have made Gilbert strong.