Republican businessman John Cox jokes that he made his fortune in potato chips, a reference to the purchase and turnaround of Jays Foods by his venture capital company in the 1990s.
Cox, a Chicago native who now lives in San Diego County, says he wants to spend some of that money on his campaign for governor of California. The 61-year-old attorney says he's running to clean up a political system that "rewards the funders of campaigns who get to dictate what happens in Sacramento."
Cox is hoping to use a statewide ballot measure he's pushing as a springboard to the governor's mansion. The idea: replace the current 120-member Legislature with a "neighborhood legislature" carved up into much smaller districts, each with no more than 10,000 people. The result would be thousands more legislators, an idea that could be a tough sell with voters.
In fact, Cox tried and failed to gather enough signatures to place the proposition on last year's statewide ballot. But he insists this time will be different.
"I’ve always worked against the corrupt interests," Cox said during a KQED interview. "I’m not giving up."