ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Elmira City Council has appointed a new District 2 councilman to fill the seat until January 2024 after former Councilman Brent Stermer won a seat on the Chemung County Legislature in November 2022, leaving his City seat vacant.

In the January 26, 2023 City Council meeting, the council approved the appointment of Corey Cooke to the 2nd District Council seat “to fill the vacancy until January 1, 2024”. Cooke, originally from California, is currently the pastor of Monumental Baptist Church on Maple Ave. in Elmira.

“I wanted to focus and kind of leave a legacy blessing for the district that I live in,” Cooke explained on why he sought out the council position. “I just want to pick up where [Brent Stermer] left off and just kind of extend the branches into the residential side of the district.”

Though originally from Los Angeles, Cooke said he and his family have lived in Elmira for the last 10 years. He said he plans to be on the ground, listening to the community before deciding to run for a full term next election cycle should he get enough support.

“My kids play with the kids in the neighborhood, so I’m hearing if a kid trips over a curb or something like that, that hasn’t been taken care of in a while,” Cooke said. “I’m hearing a pothole ruined the rim or the tire on a single mother’s car because it hasn’t been taken care of.”

Cooke said he wants to start tackling small goals like that, but said he’s aware of the diverse conditions and population in the Second District. Specifically, he called attention to the condition of the many rental properties and the homeless population in the City.

Watch Cooke’s full interview with 18 News in the video player above.