Colby J. Cooper
|Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Mobile|
November 4, 2013 – December 29, 2016
|Mayor||William S. "Sandy" Stimpson|
|Preceded by||Alfred "Al" Stokes|
|Succeeded by||Paul Wesch, Acting|
|Born||January 7, 1976|
Norwich, New York, United States
|Alma mater||B.A. Bucknell University|
Colby J. Cooper (born January 7, 1976, in Norwich, New York) is the Chief Operating Officer of the Hix Snedeker Companies, a national-level commercial real estate development firm. He is the former Chief of Staff for the City of Mobile, Alabama, under Mayor William S. "Sandy" Stimpson. Up until the time of his appointment, Cooper was serving as Director, Corporate Communications at PepsiCo, Inc. Previously, Cooper served as Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Cooper also served in President George W. Bush’s Administration in senior roles at the White House and Department of State.
Cooper distinguished himself as a leader of Mobile, Alabama, Mayor Sandy Stimpson's transformational agenda to become the safest, most business and family-friendly city in America by 2020. Occasionally at odds with long-serving local officials over policy, Cooper helped push through significant changes to the city's organizational structure, on budgetary matters, capital improvement investment, creating a procurement and supplier diversity program, renovating public facilities and parks, implementing youth programs and overall improvement of the city's cleanliness. Cooper was often the front-man for the change element to include recruiting Uber (company) to Mobile, and as such to the State of Alabama. He fiercely defended the Mayor in a dispute about Mayoral versus City Council powers that ultimately ended in a compromise. Cooper's tenure with the City of Mobile ended with his sudden resignation after a December 2016 visit to the city by then President-Elect Donald Trump. Upon Cooper's departure, Stimpson responded by saying, "[H]is passion, his enthusiasm to make Mobile a better place is unparalleled."
Working for the Federal government of the United States, Cooper served as a long-time aide to Condoleezza Rice, working in various capacities during his time at the White House and Department of State. As Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State (2007-2008), Cooper assisted in the planning and implementation of the Secretary's major events, as well her domestic and international travels, including coordinating meetings between Secretary Rice and various world leaders. In her book No Higher Honor, Rice gives Cooper specific credit for overseeing the arrangements of her historic visit to Libya to meet with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and a critical trilateral meeting between Rice and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Prior to his stint at the State Department, Cooper served on the National Security Council as Director for Communications and Media Relations (2003-2006) where he coordinated President George W. Bush’s foreign media interviews, traveled internationally with the President, and planned the National Security Advisor’s public appearances and media interviews. Earlier in his tenure at the White House, Cooper served as an Associate Director for Communications (2002-2003), and as an Executive and Administrative Assistant to the National Security Advisor (2001-2002). Prior to joining the White House staff, Cooper worked on the U.S. government’s Y2K preparedness and monitoring efforts.
On October 19, 2007, Cooper received Bucknell University's inaugural Award for Distinguished Citizenship. In 2010, he was named by Mobile Bay magazine as a "40 Under Forty" honoree. On July 28, 2017, Cooper was inducted into the Oxford Academy and Central School's Hall of Distinction. He is one of the youngest inductees to date.
In the news
On December 17, 2016, Cooper was at the center of a controversial national news story  for placing a fifty-foot cedar Christmas tree inside Ladd–Peebles Stadium for President-Elect Donald Trump's visit to Mobile, Alabama as part of his 'thank you' tour. The tree was taken from a city park. Cooper apologized and stated that he will be paying for the replacement of the tree and the tree used will be re-purposed. On December 29, 2016, Cooper submitted his resignation.
On September 13, 2012, Cooper had a special tribute to slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, published in the Press-Register. Cooper writes:
When I heard the news, the emotion that brewed in me was intense. It is not easy to see footage of someone you worked with dragged lifeless through the streets of a foreign land.... Ambassador Stevens was not trying to impose the will of the United States; he was there to help build a relationship between our two countries and offer support to a people who, at their core, want nothing more than to be free.
On August 26, 2010, Cooper delivered the keynote address at the (Mobile, Alabama) Chamber of Commerce's 2010 "Get Connected" Luncheon. He talked about the foundations of the American dream. In his remarks, Cooper made the following comment about education in America:
We need to remind ourselves that education is not Republican or Democrat, it is not White, Black, Hispanic or Asian -- education should not be about the haves and have not -- primary and secondary education in America is, as far as I am concerned, an inalienable right. We cannot let political or bureaucratic complacency, at all levels, keep us from ensuring that every child is given the chance they deserve to take the necessary steps toward accomplishing their goals and dreams. They will be better for it and so will America.
On March 14, 2010, Cooper penned a contrarian op-ed for the Press-Register discussing his opposition to a 2010 House Foreign Affairs Committee non-binding resolution (H.Res 252) calling for the heinous acts committed by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenian people, from 1915-1923, to be classified as the Armenian Genocide. In the op-ed, Cooper reveals that he is actually a third generation Armenian-American and shares the plight his great grandparents endured during this time period. Despite his ancestry, he remains opposed to a resolution.
Today, more than ever, the United States must be focused on maintaining and strengthening its strategic partnerships and alliances, not impugning (even if unintentionally) the honor and integrity of our allies for acts committed by generations before them... We will never forget what happened, but we need to be rational with our current thinking and actions. This Armenian-American is more concerned about the future of the world than trying to rewrite history.
On May 12, 2009, Cooper had a Letter to the Editor published in The New York Times defending former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over comments she made about the Bush Administration's policy on torture that were purportedly taken out of context.
Cooper received his B.A. from Bucknell University, where he was a two-time varsity football letter winner and member of the 1996 Patriot League Championship team, and the 1997 Bucknell Bison football squad that remains the winningest team in the school's football history at 10-1. He served on Bucknell University's Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2007-2008.
He is married to Jaime Lyon Cooper. They have a son and daughter.
He is a native of Oxford, New York.
- "Mobile Mayor-elect Sandy Stimpson to name Colby Cooper as chief of staff"', al.com, September 17, 2013.
- Biography of Colby J. Cooper. The Cooper-Lyon Group.
- "10 Coastal Alabama Leaders You Should Know" By, Jessica Sawyer, AL.com, November 28, 2013.
- "Biography of Mayor Sandy Stimpson" City of Mobile
- "New City of Mobile Reorganization Proposed" WKRG.com, September 25, 2015.
- "Mayor's Office Proposes New Procurement Chief Position - Supplier Diversity Program" By Dale Liesch, "Laginappe", January 15, 2015.
- "City to Outsource Mowing Major Thoroughfares" Lagniappe, July 8, 2014.
- "Council Passes Uber Amendment", By Dale Liesch, Lagniappe, July 14, 2015.
- "Mobile mayor-council clash could still end in compromise -- but whose?", By Lawrence Specker, AL.com, March 9, 2016.
- "Mobile Chief of Staff Colby Cooper Submits Resignation" WKRG.com, December 29, 2016.
- "Colby Cooper still on payroll, Mayor says departure a "mutual" decision", By Christian Jennings, Local15TV.com, January 3, 2017.
- Camp Inspirations: Look Who Went to Camp! American Camp Association
- "Condoleezza Rice Met Muammar Gaddafi: Exclusive Excerpt of ‘No Higher Honor’", By Condoleezza Rice, Dailybeast.com, October 20, 2011.
- Rice, Condoleezza (2011). No Higher Honor. Search this book on
- "Bush subordinates make 'official' visits to battlegrounds", By Joe Milicia, USA Today, October 15, 2004.
- Award Announcement from Bucknell.edu
- "2010 Class of Forty Under 40" mobilebaymag.com
- Oxford Hall of Distinction Announcement from Oxac.org
- "‘Insane’: Anger in Mobile, Ala., as city robs park of beloved old cedar for Trump rally backdrop", By Samantha Schmidt, The Washington Post, December 20, 2016.
- "Chief of staff for Mobile mayor resigns 11 days after apologizing over tree for Trump rally", By Prescotte Stokes III, AL.com, December 29, 2016.
- "Legendary Public Servant", Op-Ed By Colby J. Cooper, Press-Register, September 13, 2012.
- "Cooper-Lyon Principal Delivers Keynote at 2010 "Get Connected" Luncheon: Colby Cooper Discusses the Foundations of the American Dream", AL.com, August 29, 2010.
- "Armenia: Remembering the past, focusing on the future | Passing a resolution is the wrong thing", Op-Ed By Colby J. Cooper, Press-Register, March 14, 2010.
- "LETTER; What Rice Said About the President and the Law", By Colby J. Cooper, The New York Times, May 12, 2009.
- Sports Illustrated web site: Colby Cooper - Bucknell Bison (statistics)
- Bucknell Football: A Century of Tradition
- "Chenango Stories: Colby Cooper", By Jill Kraft, The Evening Sun, February 5, 2008.
- Hix Snedeker Companies Company Website
- The Cooper-Lyon Group, LLC Company Website
- Time.com - Why Is Condi Rice Joining the Torture Debate? Includes comments from Cooper.
- Pac-10 | Condoleezza Rice is not interested in becoming commissioner Includes comments from Cooper.
- Bucknell University – Two receive inaugural Bucknell Citizenship Award Colby Cooper was one of two inaugural recipients of the Bucknell Award for Distinguished Citizenship.
- Biography from the White House
- Bucknell University – Bucknell in the News – Bucknell Students Take Up Global Issues in Washington, D.C. May 7, 2004
- Bartner, Amy. The State News, April 13, 2004. Rice to speak at commencement Includes comments from Cooper.
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