(AP) — Columbus native John Goss has a pretty impressive resume.
positions he has held are:
director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation.
the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
of the Great Lakes Commission.
tourism for the state of Indiana.
staff for Lt. Gov. Frank O'Bannon.
director for 8th District Rep. Frank McCloskey.
Today he has
another job, one far more impressive in scope and much more unusual in
title. The 1969 Columbus High School graduate is the federal government's
Asian carp czar.
"It brings out
a lot of smiles among my friends whenever someone brings it up," Goss said
recently from an office in Washington where he is responsible for a $78
million budget. The lesser known but more accurate official title is
chairman of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.
In a city
where there are economic czars, drug enforcement czars and a legion of
other quasi-czars, the title Asian carp czar might qualify for a spoof on
"Saturday Night Live."
No one in the
Great Lakes region would laugh, however.
The Asian carp
threatens a $7 billion sport and commercial fishing industry in the Great
Lakes, according to Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., who described Goss as "an
exceptionally qualified candidate and a longtime friend of Great Lakes."
It has only
been in recent years that the Asian carp has captured universal attention,
primarily because of some unique video footage in a constant state of
rerun on YouTube that shows hundreds of the fish leaping out of the water
and into passing boats.
Asian carps have had their effect, seriously injuring some boaters who
were struck by the fish that can weigh up to 100 pounds.
injuries pale alongside the dire predictions raised should invasive
varieties break into one of the Great Lakes to the detriment of native
voracious bottom feeders who are also prolific breeders," Goss said.
"There have already been sightings in Indiana waterways like the Wabash
and White rivers, not to mention the Illinois River."
carp have been recovered in Chicago waterways (although not in the central
city) and raised fears that they could eventually migrate into Lake
been one of the main proponents in urging President Obama to appoint a
federal coordinated response coordinator for Asian carp.
Obama did just that, naming Goss to the post. At the time Goss was
director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation but had already amassed a
significant resume in the field of natural resources.
in the outdoors go all the way back to my time in the Boy Scouts and
growing up in Petersville Methodist Church," he said.
He is the son
of the late Robert Goss, who worked at Arvin Industries and retired from
Reliance Electric before his death last year. His mother, Harriet, still
lives in Columbus, as do his brother, Steven, and sisters, Marcia Harbaugh
and Jan Reed.
obtaining bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana University, Goss
went to work for the city of Bloomington, where he would eventually serve
as a deputy to two mayors.
He was on the
staff of 8th District Rep. Frank McCloskey, D-Ind., and took part in the
infamous 1984 election against Republican challenger Rick McIntyre that
required recounts until McCloskey was declared the winner by a mere four
"I still have
nightmares about all those paper ballots we had to look over," Goss
laughed. "It was like a prelude to Florida and the hanging chads (in the
still disputed presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore in
involved in state government after serving as chief of staff to Lt. Gov.
Frank O'Bannon, who would later follow Evan Bayh as governor. That led to
two statewide appointments, one as tourism director and the other as
director of the Department of Natural Resources.
numerous dealings with his peers in other states, Goss built up a network
of contacts and became an expert on issues relating to the economic
viability of the Great Lakes.
By the time he
was appointed to the current White House post, he was well versed on the
dangers of Asian carp.
will be administering a $78 million budget, very little of it will be
spent on staff.
only consists of three people," he said. "Most of the money will be
directed to agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers for specific
The corps is
but one of many federal, state and local agencies Goss will coordinate
with in developing a successful resolution of the Asian carp problem.
under consideration is a proposal to permanently shut down the Chicago
waterway system linking Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.
anticipates that much of his time will be spent traveling throughout the
Midwest instead of directing operations from Washington.
"I'm going to
continue calling Indianapolis home," he said. "I've been fortunate in that
some old friends from my Bloomington days who now live in D.C. have let me
stay with them while I'm in Washington."