He’s never held office before, but Kevin Cookingham promises to hit the ground running if elected


Cookingham is going up against Rep. Jim Costa

FRESNO, California (KSEE) — A political newcomer is promising to bring change to California’s 16th congressional district, trying to unseat a longtime incumbent.

Kevin Cookingham is the Republican challenger going up against Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno. While he hasn’t held any office before, he said he plans to hit the ground running to bring results to the Central Valley.

Numerous times in our interview with Cookingham, he said he’s all about results. It’s why he makes this bold claim, “If you don’t see big results in the first two years [I’m elected], vote me out.

He adds, “But, you will see results because I don’t sleep at night unless I see results.”

Cookingham’s experience largely comes from education. He was an administrator with the Clovis Adult School, as well as the Clovis Online School.

He said there’s two issues he plans to hit the ground running on if he gets elected, things he said he “wouldn’t need Congress for” to start working on.

The first is addressing the area’s unemployment. Pulling from his experience with Clovis Unified School District, his strategy is to take advantage of what’s already here.

“Just our them in touch with the right opportunities, like the right career tech education programs,” Cookingham said. “In electrical, plumbing, whatever it may be.”

The second issue is cleaning up the trash in the area. Cookingham recognizes part of it is tackling homelessness, so he plans to support nonprofits that focus on drug, alcohol, and mental health issues.

“One of the things that they teach us in education is if you see something that’s trash, pick it up,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re an administrator, nobody’s above picking up trash, right?”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Cookingham hit the campaign trail hard all over the district, knowing a huge obstacle to winning against Costa is name recognition.

Now in the middle of the pandemic, he’s been hard at work fostering the relationships he made to get the votes.

“I thought, I can either retire and sit back, hang out, or I can really try and make a difference in what’s going on in this nation,” Cookingham said.

For local, national, and breaking news, and to get weather alerts, download our FREE mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

More Political Stories

More Politics

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.