Let voters decide term limits

Posted 2/20/24

If there’s one thing most Americans agree on, it’s that grandstanding and gridlock...

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Let voters decide term limits


If there’s one thing most Americans agree on, it’s that grandstanding and gridlock have crippled Washington. Too often, those we send to our nation’s capital forget where they come from and why they were elected.

In Washington, the biggest problem is that politicians don’t listen to voters. Yet, in Tallahassee, politicians are in danger of making the very same mistake. This year, state lawmakers proposed a bill to strip local voters of the power to decide term limits for their county commissioners. Instead, lawmakers want to install a top-down “one-size-fits all” solution.

It’s a bad idea. Simply put, it’s wrong to strip voters of their rightful power — and it’s wrong to treat every community like it’s the same community.

Miami-Dade County is over 17,000 percent larger than Union County. Their needs are different — and frankly, all of Florida’s 67 counties are different. While some thrive on agriculture, others are hubs of tourism. While some are coastal, others are inland. While some rank among the wealthiest places in America, others are economically at-risk. The issues they deal with are different, too. So are the solutions. On education, infrastructure, healthcare and, yes, even term limits, voters in different communities may want different solutions — which is precisely why some Florida counties have term limits and some do not.

That’s the way it should be. That’s how our Founders envisioned it. And right now, that’s the way it works.

Ironically, if Tallahassee politicians impose the same top-down approach on every county in Florida, it will be the mirror image of the “Washington-knows-best” attitude that has left so many of us disillusioned with national politics.

Americans’ frustration with Washington is both valid and justified — I share it. The lack of term limits in Congress contributes to a cycle of inertia, sclerosis, and entrenchment. However, transplanting this frustration onto our local communities is like performing surgery on the wrong patient. It undermines voter control and risks severing the deep connections local leaders have with their communities—connections that are vital for responsive and effective governance.

washington, politicians, congress, voter control, counties, Tallahassee, politicians