Those who follow city politics know that Micky Cook’s time serving on the Stillwater City Council has come with some heated exchanges.
As Ward 2’s representative, Cook stood as the lone voice on the council against the St. Croix River Crossing Project. She consistently questioned openness in government and city spending and she served as a strong advocate for historic preservation.
Cook chose not to seek re-election, and during last week’s council meeting she thanked the public for allowing her to serve.
Cook said she was recently asked what her biggest challenge on the council was, what would she miss the least and if she has any regrets.
“I’ve decided that I really have no regrets. I just want to stick with my gratitude, because everything else is just water under the bridge at this point,” Cook quipped, while looking in the mayor’s direction. “No pun intended.”
When taking office four years ago, Cook said her goals were simple: Be fiscally responsible; be open and fair; and improve the quality of life.
“What started as campaign promises,” Cook said, “quickly became a public trust to me.”
Cook is proud of her work with the city’s problem property ordinance, the social host ordinance and the demolition ordinance.
“One of my favorites is the North Hill Community Garden,” Cook said. “It is a true grassroots achievement in residents and government partnership. Taking an abandoned basketball court and turning it into so much more than a garden—a learning environment for children and a gathering place that builds community ties.”
Cook thanked the downtown women business owners and her fellow council members.
“Honestly,” Cook said addressing the council, “I want to thank each and everyone of you who helped me through a difficult decision at one time of another—those are the times I want to remember.”
“We really did have a good council,” Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki said. “We’re like family and squabble sometimes—and there is shifting of allegiances—but at the end of the day we really work together well and I hope the new council continues that.”
Council member Mike Polehna said he appreciates Cook’s efforts.
“You worked your tail off to serve this community and I want to say I personally appreciate all the efforts you’ve made,” he said. “We didn’t always agree … but you voted on your conscience and that’s all you can do up here. You’ve got to vote what you believe, and that’s what you always did and I can appreciate that.”
Cook also expressed her gratitude for city staff and the volunteers who serve on the city’s various committees and commissions.
“You patiently shared your expertise and taught me about everything from watershed districts and storm sewers to tax increment financing,” Cook said. “Best civics class ever. Thank you. You were also responsive and always thorough.”
Cook then turned to her friends, and thanked them for their support.
“I want to thank my husband for his patience and understanding,” Cook said looking out to a group of her friends. “OK, everyone was supposed to laugh at that … so if not for your patience, for your passion, and your loyalty, and your gut-wrenching job of being my sounding board, and for having my back. You can relax now.”
Four years ago, Cook’s campaign signs read: Elect Micky Cook: She Will Work for You.
“I tried to do that,” Cook said, “and I hope I served you well.”