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GOOOH Mock Candidate Selection - February 1, 2010

Politicians are the problem.
GOOOH is the solution.

I attended the Mock Candidate Selection session in Clear Lake, held at the Freeman Library at 7PM, February 1, 2010.

There were 22 participants, 18 of which went through the mock selection process (the mock process uses groups of 6 so there were three tables of 6 each). I have gone through the process before, so I sat out so that someone else could participate.

Most of the 18 indicated that they had not participated in the mock process before.

It was fascinating and inspiring watching the participants.

The first thing that participants do is answer 20 sample candidate questions taken from the more than 100 that the actual process will use. The questions ask how one would vote if they were in Congress voting on a particular issue and can only be answered "for" or "against." Each person at the table then reads out their votes so that each person ends up with a table showing their own votes and the votes of the others at their table. During this process there was some informal, good natured, back and forth chatter about the questions,

What was most interesting was the change in attitude once the group got down to evaluating each other. After all the answers are recorded, each participant gives a one minute "elevator" speech. From the Wikipedia article on Elevator Speech:

"An effective elevator pitch generally answers questions such as:

* What the product, service, or project is.
* What it does for the buyer, investor, or sponsor (i.e. the benefits).
* Who you are and why you will be successful."

The elevator speech is geared toward product promotion, but is used here to promote one's ideas for the country and why that person should be considered as a representative.

The change in attitude at the table when the elevator speeches began was immediate - the five listeners leaned forward to hear every word of what their follow citizens had to say.

After the one minute speeches, the participants vote for their "first impression" favorite and least favorite candidate. The thought that went into this process was obvious, with participants reviewing the other candidates answers carefully and reflecting on what they had just heard.

After the "first impression" voting was done, the real business of the session began - one on one interviews. The participants are paired up and given 5 minutes to interview each other. The one on one interview gives everyone the opportunity to explain their own answers and to ask about the answers of the other person. After five minutes the pairing is changed so that after five sessions everyone has had an opportunity to be one on one with everyone at their table.

I could hear just snippets from the one on one interviews, but they included:

"I never thought of it that way."
"Excellent point - I can appreciate why you voted as you did."
"But, what about the fact that ..."
"Have you considered what effect that program might have on ..."

Surely this has to be the way that the Founders had in mind for us to select our citizen representatives.

Call me if you are intrigued and have questions, or let me know if you would like to participate in a mock selection process - there are several scheduled in the Houston area.

Bob Smither