'Lawnmower man' to seek help from congress members

Chris Cox of Mount Pleasant gained celebrity status during the government shutdown when he took it upon himself to mow and clean up the grounds around the Lincoln Memorial.

The Mount Pleasant man who gained national fame for cleaning the Washington Mall during the government budget shutdown says he's going to hit up members of Congress to join his effort.

Mount Pleasant resident Chris Cox, aka the "lawnmower man," plans to ask groups of senators and representatives to join in a supporting role of his Memorial Militia movement.

As Cox sees it, multiple members of both houses praised him under the media limelight for his work.

Now it's time for them to pay it forward by adding their names to fundraising efforts and opening doors, he said.

Cox became a national celebrity after the Washington media focused on his unilateral efforts to mow the grass, clean up trash and clear other debris from the city's tourism areas. All those functions came to a halt during the 16-day federal budget stalemate back in October.

But while Congress was at a standstill, various politicians and their staffs went out of their way to interview Cox or to have their picture taken with him or be seen with him.

Now, setting up meetings with some of those very same D.C. staffers is his first goal, he said.

"They have the ears of their congressmen," Cox said, adding that he sees his best entryway tactic as "a good attitude and a firm handshake."

Cox said the focus of his militia work has shifted toward assisting veterans, including those who are disabled or otherwise unable to perform duties around their homes. He'd like to provide them yard work help or with fixes needed inside, such as with painting or light replacement.

The idea is to "treat them like the memorials they are," Cox said. He's looking for "five to seven" lawmakers from both parties to join on.

While he'd like to include members of South Carolina's congressional delegation in the effort, Cox plans to first start by approaching Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, who read a statement praising Cox into the Congressional Record.

Issa also "tweeted" a social media message about Cox, calling him "the one-man citizen cleaning crew of the national mall."

Cox, who updates his activities via Facebook, will be back in Washington after the holidays to start making Capitol Hill contacts. His other work is as a chain saw artist and wood carver in Mount Pleasant.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.

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