Any substantive, worthwhile change takes hard work and common vision. But the way forward is pretty simple: a citizen-run, candidate selection process built on the 3 principles of voter education and involvement, accountability, and removing special-interest money from the process. Using these, we can restore citizen control to a non-responsive government.
The candidate selection process has four opportunities for citizen input:
1. Design of a questionnaire that focuses on character and principles;
2. Self-education regarding issues of significance on Marco Island;
3. Participating in what is, in effect, a tiered caucus process through which the people choose candidates from among the participants. The selected candidates sign commitment letters pledging to faithfully vote as they indicated on their questionnaire, or resign their office. In addition, selected candidates also will promise in writing not to take money or in-kind donations from any special interest group or political committee.
4. Campaigning for selected candidates. This means door-to-door canvassing to educate voters who did not participate in the selection process.
The solution to dysfunctional and non-representative government – at any level – depends on you and me. Those of us who continue to disengage will surely get what we deserve, a government of special interests without citizen representation that controls every aspect of our lives.
Bruce W. Novark, M.D.
Marco Island, FL