Some people want to change the world, others, including members of a national group with a growing local effort, just want to change Congress — at least for now.
GOOOH, pronounced go, stands for Get Out of Our House and is a process to replace all 435 members of the House of Representatives with candidates that represent the people, not big money and special interests, supporters say.
Marco and South Naples are among the GOOOH groups in Florida’s District 14, currently represented by Congressman Connie Mack.
Mack and his press office continue to decline comment on the idea to oust him and his peers.
The South Naples and Marco GOOOH groups are joining efforts with Naples Tea Party and members of 9.12, which stands for the day after 9/11 when the country was more united than ever, for a rally on Marco Island.
The rally is scheduled 1 p.m., Saturday, beginning at Veterans’ Community Park on Elkcam Circle.
Though the three groups have some differences, they plan to converge based on what they have in common.
“I see a lot of synergy in what we are doing,” said Keith Flaugh, who leads the Marco GOOOH group.
Cheryl Couture of the Southwest Florida 9.12 couldn’t be reached for comment.
Flaugh said 9.12 is similar to the Tea Party and GOOOH by working to combat complacency among citizens. The difference with 9.12, he said, is that the group is more focused on education than changing the election process the way GOOOH plans to do.
He said many people are members of all three groups.
Barry Willoughby, who leads the Naples Tea Party, which is somewhat more conservative than the non-partisanship of GOOOH, is focused on what unites the groups and their individual members.
“GOOOH, along with many other groups are united in the cause of fighting for individual liberty as prescribed by the United States Constitution. And with liberty, comes personal responsibility,” said Willoughby.
The GOOOH movement requires such responsibility from citizens, as it is based on creating an election process where members of each district are directly involved in selecting their candidates.
Voters and candidates take a 100-question survey to share their values and principles on key issues. The answers to those online questions will be used to hold those who are voted into office accountable, Flaugh said.
If the representatives change their minds or vote differently than they said they would in the questionnaire, then it will be up to “70 percent of voters to let them off the hook,” Flaugh added.
Bruce Novark, also of the Marco GOOOH, said it will take convincing the people of the logic for the member of Congress to change their answers to a question.
“They can’t just change their view because someone offered them money,” Novark said.
Marco’s group grew to about 75 participating members and the South Naples group, led by Lois Kehoe, also has about 75 members, Flaugh reported.
Participants will be asked to donate $100 once the GOOOH membership grows to 500,000 members nationwide.
“That will be $50 million to start the National GOOOH campaign in May,” said Novark.
GOOOH, which intends not to fall into the trap of becoming a third political party, members say, will need to select their candidates to be on the ballot in June or July.
Flaugh said a lot of people ask him how the group, which according to GOOOH.com currently has 66,204 members, can make it in time.
“We can’t lose. We’re educating people on how to take back their House, just as the Constitution intended,” he said.
If there aren’t enough members for the 2010 election, the group plans to set its sights on the 2012 election.
More about the GOOOH process will be presented in advance of the rally at an informal meeting scheduled 3 p.m., Wednesday, at Marco Presbyterian Church, located at 875 W. Elkcam Circle.
GOOOH Florida Director Vincent G. Smith, retired from the U.S. Air Force, said there is a GOOOH group in each of Florida’s 25 districts, although some are loosely organized at this stage.
Smith said he’s been a member of GOOOH for eight months and sees no other way to get the “people’s House back in the people’s hands.”
At a recent meeting on Marco held earlier this month, one of the primary concerns among those just learning about GOOOH was whether it might be an election spoiler. GOOOH supporters replied that it’s time to get out of that paradigm.
“The entire country realizes that we cannot continue this spending spree, and electing the incumbents who brought us to the brink of destruction is insane,” said Smith.