MARCO ISLAND — The group to oust Congress, dubbed GOOOH, just keeps going.
Get Out of Our House (GOOOH) founder Tim Cox arrived on Marco Island on Thursday to garner support for the non-partisan movement to replace career politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives with everyday people selected by their peers.
“I’m here on a seemingly impossible mission,” Cox said to a crowd of more than 100 people at Marco Island Presbyterian Church.
Cox, a 49-year-old Texas man and former Dell Computer executive founded GOOOH in 2005, seeking to change the political process beginning with replacing all 435 members of the House.
“I’m convinced we’re all here for a reason. I think I’ve found mine,” Cox said.
The problem is that politicians are corrupt by representing big money, lobbyists, their party and their own careers, instead of the voters, he said.
“I believe my purpose was to build this system,” said Cox, who has quit his job.
The current election process is completely broken and he seeks to have 500,000 GOOOH members nationwide by June 30, he said. The GOOOH candidates will be selected by the people in each district as early as this year’s election. Currently there are 75,000 members nationwide, Cox said.
“One election can change the course of this nation,” he said. “We’ll redefine politics in America.”
If it can’t be done this year, the goal is to get a large enough following by 2012, which Cox said will happen with national media attention.
“We’re trying to be smart about this. We don’t want to just steal 5 percent of the vote. That’s why it’s important to wait until we’ve reached a critical mass,” Cox said.
The candidates are selected through GOOOH members filling out a 100-question survey on the top issues of the day.
More people would be likely to write a $100 check than fill-out a 100 question survey, said Marco Island resident Bill McMullan.
That is a challenge, Cox said. “We don’t think it’s too much to ask people to spend two hours to answer these questions.”
Following the questionnaire, participants are to be sorted in pools of 10 by congressional districts, and, that pool of 10 will choose the two best people based on answers to the questionnaire, accomplishments, personalities, skills and willingness to serve.
Those two will advance and the next week there will be a new pool of 10. One person rises to the top of the system, chosen by their peers as the GOOOH candidate.
Each member who becomes a candidate signs a legally binding document that they’ll vote the way they said they would in that questionnaire.
If they vote other than they said they would and don’t get permission online from the people in their district, than they agree to be removed in 24 hours.
If they don’t willingly leave, then a vote of 2/3 of the other House members will oust them, Cox said.
Currently Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers. is the District 14 representative and in the past has declined to comment on the movement. Mack couldn’t be reached for comment on Thursday.
The only condition to being a GOOOH member is supporting term limits, Cox said. All other issues are to be decided by district.
“The key is you,” said Marco Island GOOOH leader Keith Flaugh. “It’s time to stop blaming all those other guys.”
GOOOH will begin asking for money, although they have accepted about $250,000, when 500,000 members have joined. Then, each member is to pay $100.
“I want to believe this,” said Marco Island resident Jane Moora. “But $50 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what they (candidates) are raising these days.”
Cox agreed, saying advertising will lead to millions of members, as well as more political and financial clout.
He had the crowd answer questions, such as whether they’d vote to get rid of the federal education system, indicating yes by saying “I.”
The crowd said “I” in unison to that and other questions, including throwing out the tax code and making English the legal national language.
“If only 10 percent of GOOOH candidates win, they’ll just get sucked into the black hole of Congress, won’t they?” asked Carlo Valvasari, of Naples.
It’s a start, Cox replied, to getting any GOOOH candidates elected.
How will GOOOH address voters who select candidates based on their ethnic lines? asked Dick Vinci, of Marco, who said people often choose Italian, Hispanic or black candidates.
Similarly, what about splitting the vote in the two party system? several people asked.
“Most of us agree on most of the issues,” Cox replied. “There are a few emotional ones that I call the ‘guns, gays and God’ issues. If we ignore those three, we’re not that far apart.”
Check back for more videos as well as a related story following GOOOH founder Tim Cox's visit to the Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District, 27701 Bonita Grande Dr., which begins at 7 p.m. tonight.