Term limits a complicated but reasonable debate

The issue of term limits for public office holders is a complicated one, even though both some advocates and some opponents might not see the other perspective.

Advocates point to general public dissatisfaction with long-time, even virtually lifelong politicians. They correctly assert that incumbency, particularly at the national and state level, and the influence and money that comes with many years in office, makes for career politicians who are highly unlikely to be defeated either in a primary or general election. The now common expression “political class’ stems at least in part from this perception.

All good points.

Those who oppose term limits point out that voters have the power of limiting an elected official’s time in office every election – simply vote them out of office. Yes, incumbency brings a great deal of power and funding, but a majority of voters who turn out in opposition to an official’s re-election is all it takes. Additional arguments against term limits include the benefit of institutional knowledge, continuity and the learning curve required of a freshman official in order to accomplish anything in office.

Also, solid points.

The possibility of term limits for Minot elected officials came up at a Monday night city council meeting when council member Shannon Straight proposed that the mayor or council members step down for a term after serving two terms.

“I want to have a public discussion about term limits,” Straight told the council. “I’m just putting it out to the public – in all transparency – I want to hear from them.”

Minot Daily News encourages the public to weigh in on term limits and believes the city council should at least have an open discussion about it should the community express interest.


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