Tedra Cobb was born the youngest of two children to Ted (a public school teacher) and Barbara (the queen of frugality) Cobb. When Tedra was in elementary school, her parents’ faith led them to start a foster care agency and ultimately adopt nine children and open their home to many foster children. Raising a family of this size on one income wasn’t easy, but they got by.
A resourceful entrepreneur from an early age, Tedra started saving for college in middle school, working a paper route early mornings and babysitting on weekends. Her earnings, along with federal tuition assistance through TAP and PELL grants, made it possible for Tedra to get her Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Potsdam. That was over 30 years ago, when she fell in love with her husband Scott and the beautiful North Country. Together, they decided this would be the place to raise their family. They’ve lived in Canton ever since.
Tedra’s deep desire to serve her community has been a constant theme in her career. Her first business undertaking was starting a community health agency (which continues to employ twelve people today). There she secured federal and state funding to provide preventative screening and follow-up care to hundreds of our own hard-working North Country neighbors who don’t make enough to afford health insurance. During that time, Tedra’s husband Scott also started a not-for-profit organization to help North Country families and farmers reduce their utility costs and reliance on fossil fuels through energy efficiency.
In 2002, Tedra ran for the St. Lawrence County Legislature and, against all odds, beat a powerful incumbent handily. She didn’t win because she had the most money or the backing of the majority party. She had neither. Tedra won because she worked tirelessly, going door-to-door, attending every chicken BBQ and giving her ear to every voter who wanted to be heard. Tedra was driven by her memory of the day she witnessed a politician stand up in front of an audience eager for answers cross his arms and turn his back on the crowd. She swore that she would run for office and never turn her back on the people she was elected to serve.
Tedra served Saint Lawrence County for eight years, working side-by-side with community service providers, business owners, community activists, farmers, educators, tradespeople, and her fellow locally elected officials and Legislators. Because of her personal commitment to transparency and integrity in local government, Tedra led the effort to create and pass the current St. Lawrence County ethics law and the St. Lawrence County (NY) Board of Ethics.
After completing her Masters, Tedra had a hard time finding a job that would allow her to stay in her beloved North Country. Ever the resourceful entrepreneur, she started her second business, Tedra Cobb & Associates. Here she applies her skills in facilitation, problem-solving, strategic planning and coaching to help people in private businesses, not-for profit organizations, hospitals and universities to communicate, collaborate and reach across the aisle to get things done.
She made her decision to run for Congress the day the 21st district’s current elected representative refused to reach across the aisle and turned her back on the people who elected her by voting for the highly partisan American Healthcare Act. If that law had passed in the Senate, the people of New York’s 21st congressional district would have been economically devastated. Thousands of healthcare workers would have lost their jobs, many of the region’s hospitals could have closed and 64,000 people would have lost their health insurance.
The 21st Congressional District deserves a representative who will put our interests above party politics and personal political ambition. Tedra Cobb has the character, gumption and resourcefulness to do just that.