CHICAGO - Maybe you haven't heard the name John Cox in Illinois politics for a while. He's the Republican that ran for Illinois' 2004 U.S. Senate nomination and in the multi-candidate race, lost to businessman Jack Ryan who stepped out of the race just weeks away from Barack Obama winning that November.
Cox also ran for Congress in the 10th CD, and tried for U.S. President in 2008.
Now Cox and his wife split their time between homes in Chicago and Rancho Sante Fe, California. And because Cox was evidently badly bitten by the political bug during his Illinois campaigns, the former head of Jay's Potato Chips is taking his public service westward to reform California politics.
Cox's theory is that California's state house poorly represents the California population because the state's legislative districts are way too large. He writes on his "Rescue California" website:
Our career politicians fight elections in massive districts.
To do so they need to raise massive amounts for TV, radio and electioneering staff.
Let’s make this redundant. Let’s break each massive district into 100 mini-districts.
Let’s have 4000 state senators and 8000 assembly members. They’ll live in their neighborhoods and represent just a few thousand voters. There will be no need for election funds – they’ll walk the streets, meet you in the supermarket or the church and hold town hall meetings. They’ll know their local area and its concerns, and they will focus on legislation that addresses those needs. When they vote on a bill, they’ll check with voters and the other neighborhood representatives first. They won’t be beholden to the special interests because there is no need for massive campaign funds.
100 mini-districts for every current legislative district. That would break districts down into precinct-size, and multiply the voters' influence over their representatives. No need for state level commericals, ads and expensive consultants, Cox says.
Would Illinois be up for such a dramatic change? Would it work here?
At the very least, John Cox is still thinking outside the box and using his creative juices to introduce major reform, although the ideas may be totally impractical and purely visionary. What do you think?