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While the arguments that pro term limit groups make are relevant in certain cities, they do not pertain to Boulder. Boulder’s City Council has long done an excellent job serving the people of Boulder, and has helped embrace sustainable growth and prosperity in the city. Our elected City Council officials will continue to do an excellent job, and forcing them out of office and unknowns into office through the political mechanism that is term limits would undoubtedly slow the progress and excellence of Boulder. It is obvious to all the residents and those familiar with this city that comparing its needs to those of the whole country will not be helpful in the long term.
Creating term limits in Boulder would push non-corrupt officials with a good track record of helping the city out of their longtime held and well-earned positions. In the case of Boulder, David Alpert of the Washington Post makes a very relevant point.
“Here’s a plan that is sure to improve the quality of your local hospital: Fire all the doctors and nurses with nine to twelve years of experience. Just kick them all out. Or why don’t we fire every Apple software engineer who has been at the company that long? That’ll surely yield better iPhones. Or fire every Post reporter with a decade under his or her belt.”
These are all horrible ideas, and enacting legislation that forcibly removes officials that have been doing a great job running the city up to this point is equivalent action. Putting term limits at a position in government such as City Council will undoubtedly lead to inexperienced lawmakers being put into power that will likely make mistakes as they are learning the reigns. The city of Boulder does not need to be a learning center for such politicians. Furthermore, adding term limits would likely make politicians lazy in their final elected term, which would prevent politicians from doing good work.
Those in support of term limits for Boulder County council members aim to infringe on democracy and create a more complicated system where good representatives may not be able to hold office for extended periods of time.
The great nation we citizens all belong to was founded on one main idea; democracy. “We are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people” – Abraham Lincoln. Term limits infringe on democracy by not allowing citizens to elect who they want to represent them into government offices for an extended period of time.
In it’s truest form a democracy is a group or organization where each eligible member within the group is allotted one vote and the members may cast their allotted vote however they choose. The candidate with the majority of the votes wins the election and holds office until the next election.
By implementing term limits into our democratic government, we actually restrict democracy by not allowing members to select any candidate of their choosing. If this initiative were to pass in Boulder County, council members who have already served three terms in office or 12 years would no longer be eligible for reelection. This would prohibit good representatives from continuing their political career on the Boulder County council.
Those who advocate for Boulder County council member term limits also claim that term limits will increase diversity in the council and open up more spots for active political office seekers.
This however already happens naturally through democracy. If the electorates of a community decide that a council member is no longer doing a proficient job in office, when reelection comes around, the electorates vote a different legislator into office. If a legislator is serving the community well and they present their self as a better potential candidate than the other candidates, that legislator is reelected to serve another term. There are no rules against how many potential candidates may run so claiming that term limits will open up more spots for potential candidates is completely false. In the current system, every election season there are six spots up for grabs for Boulder County council. Current council members must run for reelection just like those who have never been elected to office before. Imposing term limits will have no effect whats so ever on how many “open spots” there will be on the council.
Almost the same case can be made about diversity. If term limits are imposed, there will be a constant cycle of legislators with little to no experience in office. This, in our opinion, creates less diversity and more complications. If there are no members on the council who have served before, or have only served one or two terms, it would create an abundance of inexperience and therefore less diversity. Diversity does not only include the ideals of the members but also their experiences.
In the last Boulder County council election 22 people ran for council and 60% of the elected members were first time council members. In the last 3 elections, first timers were the top vote receivers among all the candidates and in the past 49 years, only 6 members have been on the council for more than 12 years or 3 terms. Imposing these term limits will have no benefit to the community and will only cause more complications to our local government.
We believe that imposing term limits to Boulder County council members will restrict democracy by not allowing electorates to select any candidate of their choosing, decrease diversity in the council by not allowing senior members to continue their political career on the council, and have no effect on the number of “open spots” there is each election season for the council. For these reasons we believe there is strong enough evidence to reject the notion of imposing term limits on Boulder County council members and keep the current system unchanged.
- http://www.bouldercitizens.org/ – boulder citizens for term limits
No Term Limits
Boulder, CO 80302
October 13, 2016
Senator Christopher McDaniels
Room: 213 D
P.O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215
Dear Mr. Senator:
We urge you as well as the United Conservatives Fund to reconsider the Mississippi Term Limits Amendment, Initiative 51. Placing a two term limit on all state representative as well as elect office positions would not allow you to hold office as you currently do. You are currently serving your third term in the Mississippi State Senate. Pushing forward an amendment which would make your position in the state’s government not legal must feel at least somewhat hypocritical. The reasons for which you have stated that you are in favor of term limits are not based off of legitimate grounds and the current reality is that there actually has been a reasonable amount of turnover among these positions in Mississippi’s recent elections. Furthermore, enacting term limits on the representatives elected to represent your state nationally was determined illegal by a Supreme Court decision in 1995.
We agree with your goal of “increasing participation” (we assume that means in the political process) however, your implications are incorrect: “The power of incumbency has built a wall between people and their representatives. This has caused an increase in cronyism, back room deals, and corruption.” (United Conservatives Fund Press Release, April 20, 2015) There is no such wall between people and their representatives. Offices of representatives must serve all of the people under their constituency regardless of whether they agree with a particular individual’s political preferences or not. If a representative fails to keep up with doing so, the people which vote for that representative have the option to vote for a different candidate in coming elections. Often times, cases in which a representative serves for a long amount of time are directly due to the fact that a certain representative truly is the best representation for their constituency. We respectfully argue that term limits will do nothing to solve corruption, back room deals or cronyism. While a few cases of long time crime among elected officials exist in this country, they are not common. Abolishing term limits will mean new officials will occupy positions that the people believe would be better served by a previous official. Having new, lesser-known people in office more frequently undoubtedly increases the chances that someone corrupt gets a spot in office.
In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled “that in the absence of a constitutional amendment, neither states nor Congress may limit the number of terms that members of Congress can serve.” (The New York Times) This matter had been long disputed prior to the 1995 ruling. As a matter of fact with this ruling, efforts across many different states to introduce legislation similar to what you seek to introduce in Mississippi gave up just following the ruling as they knew it would not hold legal grounds. The point that different judges in favor of this decision made is very similar with this group’s way of thinking, which is simple. It is not sensical to impose term limits in positions where officials are rewarded for their good work with reelection. Imposing term limits would hinder politician’s motivations to truly benefit their constituencies in the long run.
Creating term limits within the House of Representatives and Senate in the United States would leave our country in chaos. Certain demographics can attest to these facts and are aware of the state that term limits would provide us with. We believe that our country was designed by our Founding Fathers to run slowly and smoothly. If it was meant to change rapidly, we would be at a constant risk of confusion and disorder. Looking forward, we want to understand the demographics of those who are in support of our cause, and those who need convincing.
A demographic that we found which is quite obviously against the idea of term limits and therefore the easiest to motivate would be those in current political positions. Politicians have the most understanding for how the government works and has historically been run. They understand the complexities of our government’s rules and regulations. New legislatures that are elected are inexperienced and unaware of direly important information, which is known by those in current positions due to their years and years of experience. In an article by Stanley Caress, a political science professor, he states, “The legislators elected after term limits were imposed often lack knowledge of the details of many complex policies and turn to lobbyists for information” (Caress, U.S. News). The legislative body knows how difficult it is to maintain a healthy government and is allowed the right to create their own rules in order to promote good for the country (U.S. Constitution, Article I Section 8).
Another crucial demographic that is in support of consistent legislative terms are the politician’s donors, and generally white males. Legislatures in the House and Senate need money in order to get votes. People who have invested their time and money into the current politicians, typically people in economic power, have high expectations that their stake will be preserved by current members in the House and Senate. “Money is a major factor in who will win an election. Incumbents have the benefit of the profits they made while in power — plus the backing of their party, contributing organizations and special interests — to get re-elected” (Weeks, Arguments Against Term Limits). Money realistically is a factor that makes the world go round, and any benefits of legislatures are going to note that.
A demographic that we have encountered as difficult to motivate is the younger generation of educated voters. Most typically, we see Republicans as more likely to oppose term limits than Democrats, discussed in our last post. We realize that many voters want new and fresh minds in the House and Congress, however, they neglect to see that term limits lead to more volatility and instability. It is within our human nature to challenge the status quo. If we don’t like something, we should fix it. However, we believe it is crucial that we push Americans with that mind set in the opposite direction for this case. In a 2015 Gallup poll, it was concluded that younger generations of Americans (under 30) and older Americans (over 65) both gave 74% approval of term limits (Fund, National Review). It is critical that these demographics see the issue at hand, which is the lack of knowledge that newcomers in the legislature hold. The federal government is more complicated than any of us truly know. In order to promote interest and understanding for the young demographic, we will need to show hard evidence that current House and Senate representatives are doing the job they are meant to do.
Caress, Stanley M. Term Limits Don’t Work.
Fund, John. The Return of Term Limits.
Ryan, Josiah. Senate Rejects Term Limits in 24-75 Vote.
“The Constitution of the United States,” Article 1, Section 8.
Weeks, Bob. Arguments Against Term Limits.
In the ongoing debate regarding term limits for members of congress, we contend that the democratic party is best to support our interests. The republican party has, in recent years, become the party in support of introducing term limits to both the members of the House and Senate. In 1994 republican party members introduced ‘The Citizen Legislator Act’, which sought to enact term limits in congress, along with their Contract with America. Today, in the 2016 GOP platform (page 23), under section Advancing Term Limits, the party has stated that “Our national platform has repeatedly endorsed term limits for Members of Congress” and goes on to declare the party’s intention to advance a constitutional amendment for term limits in congress. Due to the republican party’s declared support for term limits in congress, the democratic party is the best candidate to support our group. In 2009 the democratic party played an important role in stopping a constitutional amendment introducing term limits to both the House and the Senate proposed by republican senator Jim Demint. Notable democratic party member, and longtime senator, Bernie Sanders has also spoken out against term limits in the past, and was officially against term limits during his 2016 democratic primary campaign. While reaching out for the democratic party’s support we maintain that term limits are detrimental to the effectiveness of a politician’s career by limiting their time in office to complete agendas.
Term limits for the United States congress would have a negative impact on lawmakers ability to complete political agendas and would limit the ability of lawmakers to accomplish the political goals of their constituents. As we reach for the democratic party’s support in stopping the introduction of term limits to the congress we would remind the party that they have stood against such an introduction repeatedly in the past. Term limits for members of congress have never existed in the history of the United States and are not addressed in the constitution. In response to the republican party’s agenda calling for a constitutional amendment to introduce term limits to congress in their party platform, we would remind democrats that the american voters ought to be the ones to decide how long a tenure our representatives serve. The democratic party should support our interest to keep term limits out of the congress to ensure that meaningful and complete legislation is created and that legislators have the necessary amount of terms to address issues they believe important. The democratic party should maintain the effort against term limits in the congress as they would have a negative impact on the party’s ability to reach its stated goals. The introduction of term limits would remove long standing democratic party members in both the house and senate, which would reduce the democratic leadership and therefore the effectiveness of democrats in congress. Many of the most important and influential members of the democratic party in congress have held their positions for multiple terms and should not be removed from their offices while they believe that they can be effective legislators in government. Term limits would also negatively influence members of congress by removing the need to run for reelection in incumbents and thus the ability of voters to remove unsatisfactory legislators from positions in government. By introducing term limits incumbents in office who are nearing the end of their final term would have no reason to abide by the will of the voters or their constituents. Legislators are improved with the knowledge that in order to maintain their position in government they must provide adequate representation to those who they represent. The democratic party has stood against the creation of term limits in congress in the past, and has good reason to continue to support the anti-term limit movement.
- Killough, Ashley. “Poll: Three-quarters Support Term Limits.” CNN. Cable News Network, 18 Jan. 2013. Web. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/18/poll-three-quarters-support-term-limits/
- GOP 2016 Platform .pdf https://prod-static-ngop-pbl.s3.amazonaws.com/media/documents/DRAFT_12_FINAL-ben_1468872234.pdf
- Tomboulides, Nick. “Here’s Where the Presidential Candidates Stand on Term Limits – U.S. Term Limits.” US Term Limits. N.p., 30 Dec. 2015. Web https://www.termlimits.org/where-do-the-presidential-candidates-stand-on-term-limits/
- Ryan, Josiah. “Senate Rejects Term Limits in 24-75 Vote.” TheHill. N.p., 2016. Web. http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/208395-senate-rejects-amendment-recommending-congressional-term-limit-
A debate that has been going on in the political science for years is whether or not congressional members should have limits on the amount of terms one may serve in their life time. Most of the debates are focused on congressional member term limits but these arguments could extend far down the political ladder to community political leaders or all the way up to the presidents office.
Strengths of not having Term Limits:
One of the main arguments for not having term limits for political office members is when a devoted and upstanding politician does get elected into office they are faced with a time frame in which they are expected to accomplish what they promised to achieve. Many believe that there is a revolving door in politics where often times new political office members get elected and before they can even get past the learning curve or accomplish what they set out to achieve they are already up for re election or resignation. Campaigning for re election takes away from the political member’s agenda by forcing them to spend much of there time being a public figure and less of their time working on what they are trying to accomplish. Politicians also start to have less incentive to fulfill their duties if they know their term is over.
Some may claim that not having term limits for political office members keeps a fresh cycle of new ideas flowing through our government and lessens the chances of long standing members becoming corrupt and carrying out their own self interest. Some also may claim that it is a “noble act” to become a political office member and you should only act in response to the ideas of your electorates and not hold the position for power or financial gains.
One threat to not having term limits for political office members would be if the wrong form of leadership did find it’s way into office they could use their power to cause corruption with in the system. If they were able to leverage enough power they could find themselves permanently making decisions based solely on their own self interest and not for the good of the nation they represent.
The potential opportunity of great leadership working their way into office and making huge strides toward bettering our nation as a whole, in our opinion, out weighs the potential threat of the wrong leadership leveraging their power to cause corruption. Many great leaders have held office positions that were cut short due to term limits and could have accomplished many great things during their reign.
http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-014.html (why political scientist oppose term limits)
http://apecsec.org/pros-and-cons-of-congressional-term-limits/ (pros and cons of congressional term limits)
http://uspolitics.about.com/od/CampaignsElections/a/The-Term-Limit-Debate.htm (The term limit debate)
Accounts followed in Favor of term limits:
Accounts followed in Favor of not having term limits:
The supporters followed in favor of having term limits are groups or individuals with powerful voices that want to see “career-long” congress members removed from their positions. Many of the 2016 Republican primary election candidates have similar stances supporting congressional term limits. The groups chosen that support term limits do so for similar reasons. People and groups not in favor of term limits argue along several different lines to make their case. A central theme of these arguments is the subject of gridlock, and government inaction as a result of politicians who never leave. If new candidates had to come into office, they argue that it will be more likely to make the government actually function/get something done. Another argument used by this side is that when politicians constantly have to worry about being up for re-election (as a career politician does), that politician is more likely to focus on getting re-elected for as long as possible. This means that the politician will devote less efforts towards their job/duties and will be far more careful (not necessarily doing what they truly believe is right) all because they have to worry so frequently about being up for re-election.
The accounts followed which are in favor of not having term limits are either large companies or groups from professional fields that have strong lobbying power. The interesting exception is Bernie Sanders who holds views contrary to the Republican primary candidates. It would have also been interesting to use this section of the assignment to follow a number of career/life-long politicians. Surely these politicians support no term limits on Congressional positions as they have made their job out of being elected, and holding Congressional positions. However, it is the large lobbyists that are most interested in keeping term limits away. Every time a lobbyist/lobbying group makes a contribution to a politician of any kind, it is in a way an investment to influence one of or all of this politician’s decisions and policies. Basically, the longer politicians hold office for, the deeper and more engaged of a relationship that politician will have with lobbyists. If there were term limits, lobbyists would need to start over their work every time a term expired, and a new politician came into the position. Medical, real estate, insurance, and business groups that have already invested a lot in lobbying and have accordingly seen policies which favor their business interests were chosen. Along with companies that have large government (particularly defense) contracts. In the end, large lobbying groups that have invested a lot already (often in specific long-time politicians) are against term limits as they do not want to lose the work they have already completed and start part of or the entire process over again.
Hello WordPress world! We are anti term limits in the state of Colorado