Stop asking officials to do our job

By Mark Schenck Guest columnist

In April, 2017 legislators in the N.C. House voted down a proposal to extend term limits of state lawmakers from two to four years.

Several members of the N.C. General assembly have privately expressed the desire to have four-year terms as opposed to the current two-year terms. However, when coupled with Term Limits HB193 it was doomed to defeat.

House Bill 193 would have required a November 2018 constitutional referendum on the proposal. Voters would have been asked if they wanted to give legislators four-year terms – instead of the current two-year terms and limit lawmakers to three terms in office, which would total a maximum of 12 years.

The bill was defeated 13-10, all Democrats voted against it along with a few Republicans.

The term limit part of HB193 seemed to be the main objection that killed the entire bill.

But why do some voters want the government to do what our founding fathers gave the voters the power to do, vote them out. Limiting the total number of years your Politicians can serve is your job not the government’s.

Franklin Delano Roosefelt served 12 years as the president of the United States. Two years after his death, the 22nd Amendment was added to our constitution limiting all that followed to a total of two elections or eight years, this could be extended by less than two years if the vice president replaces the president prior to serving a full two years which would result in less than 2 years+4+4.

If you have a super star representing your district sch as a JFK or a Ronald Reagan shouldn’t you be allowed to keep them in office as long as constituents are satisfied with their efforts? After all, if you’re stuck with a “do-nothing politicians” then it should be up to you and the others in the district to get rid of them at the next election, that’s your job, not the governments!

One fact you might have noticed, those that seek term limits are usually not currently in office and most of the time has little or no chance of unseating the incumbent during this so called crusade for justice?

The advantages to increasing the length of each term from two to four years are obvious: currently most politicians spend a good bit of the 2 yr. Term preparing for the next election, including all types of fund raising, special appearances, unproductive “face time.” With a four- year term legislators will have more time to do what we send them to Raleigh for. Just reducing the cost to the candidates election by half will allow a greater pool of candidates to choose from with less financial strings attached.

Just as an example of how much campaigns can cost, researchers involved in CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project, which was created to improve the technology behind how we elect our leaders, estimate that America’s counties and municipalities spent $1 billion conducting the 2000 elections. That breaks down to roughly $10 for each ballot cast. Unfortunately there isn’t a more current estimate available, but we all know that costs have gone up considerably since the 2000 election. What with inflation, pricier technical equipment, and more votes to be counted, the basic cost of holding the elections could be double that of 18 years ago.

In all probability the only areas that may suffer from reducing the number of elections are those selling Campaign: signs, shirts, hats, and news paper, tv and radio advertisements.

Currently 37 states have four-year terms of office for the upper house of the state legislature (often termed the State Senate.) North Carolina still has two-year terms, which was first initiated in 1835. Prior to 1835, the length of service for our legislators was only one year. With poor transportation, a primarily agronomic economy and little or no dependable news media, short legislative terms were a necessity. Yet N.C. is still stuck in the past along with most of the North Eastern States, such as: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island Vermont, all of which still have 2 year Legislative Terms.

Our neighbors to the West in Tennessee have state senators that are elected to four-year terms.” Virginia and South Carolina also have four-year state Senate terms.

Tennessee, and South Carolina, actually took it one step farther by increasing their State House of Representative terms to four years as well. This leaves just North Carolina and our only neighboring State, Virginia, with any members of their state general assembly still serving two-year terms.

Summing it up; some might ask “Why do we need longer terms?” I would submit to those individuals a similar question, “Why did we need to go from one year to a two year term in 1835?” Same reasons: More efficient, less costly for the government and the candidates, increased productive time doing what they were hired to do.

You don’t ask your neighbor to take out your trash do you? Then stop asking the government to get rid of your political junk, start voting instead…

By Mark Schenck Guest columnist Mark Schenck Guest columnist

Mark Schenck is chairman of the Scotland County Republican Party.

Mark Schenck is chairman of the Scotland County Republican Party.