There are many pro and con reasons for instituting term limits for politicians. It seems to work well on the executive side with most governorships having some sort of term limits. I’m still up in the air whether just the 2-term limit is too short, but Virginia’s 1-term is definitely too short; the governor, even if they’re so good, does not have a chance continue that work. A president for two terms seems to have worked out well. (The two-term presidency was informally instituted by George Washington by tradition and formalized after FDR’s 4 terms in office.)
On the legislature side, I’m a little more mixed about its term limits. A lot of states, like my home state of California, used to have a 3-term and 2-term absolute limit for the state house and state senate, respectively. This led to a lot of seat swapping that was more about being in politics than being in the best position for their constituents and always looking for the next seat. On the other hand, New York had an opposite problem. Disregarding the fact that their state politicians are among the highest paid in the nation, they also do not have any term limits.
I am now leaning towards term limits for both levels and branches for elected officials. I am not sure of the number of terms that should be applied to any certain office. I do know that it should be high enough that allows politicians to gain useful experience to legislate/govern, but low enough that incumbency does not override a more qualified person. The Thicket post has shown me that term limits make it more likely that state legislators will run for the federal offices and bring their experience and knowledge to the position. I think it’s a good thing when you start off on the state level to get the hang of things or the lay of the land before you move to the national scene, although, of course, others might disagree that it is a benefit.
(In the future, I’ll add in the city-level and whether a professional or part-time legislature would be best.)
- Budget Farce Suggests Term Limits Needed (safehaven.com)
- Constitutional Revision Commission narrowly rejects idea of term limits for lawmakers (al.com)
- Levins for Assembly: Applying Practical Term Limits (gloucestercitynews.net)
- Letter: Term limits will put us back on track (norwichbulletin.com)
- Solution: Term limits (bostonherald.com)
- John Romano column: Tale of Two Term Limits in Florida Senate (tampabay.com)