As discussed in the opening blog post to this series, term limits have a big impact on our efforts to educate California legislators through I&E Days and District Days. But that doesn’t mean I have to like them, and I don’t, here’s why:
Reason #1 – I see no reason why someone who is good at their job has to give it up after a certain amount of time. How many of you have been in your job for more than six years? If you were an Assembly Member you would now have to look for a new job. This is what elections are for; if your elected official is not doing a good job, stop voting for them.
Reason #2 – I worked for a Member of Congress who served in the House of Representatives for 28 years and saw firsthand the impact that his institutional knowledge, long years of service and commitment to his constituents (three things that are minimized with term limits) had on the political and legislative process. Simply put, his years of service helped him craft laws that would have been worse off crafted by someone that was new to the job.
Reason #3 – Term limits do not solve the problem they are designed to solve and now I have a study that backs me up. Politicians do not stop being politicians and this is demonstrated by the term limit experience in California. Lawmakers that are termed out of one office simply end up running for or being appointed to another office. Check out the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, six of the seven members are legislators who were termed out. Legislators today are just as likely to be elected to other offices or get another government job as they were before term limits. And now we have legislators with less experience and knowledge about policy making trying to solve the major issues facing our state.
Whether you like term limits or not, they are the reality in our state and we all need to step up and educate our ever-changing legislators on tobacco control issues. Sign up for District Days today and be part of a coordinated effort around the state to educate legislators about tobacco control during the week of October 17-21.