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Opinion: Term limits could push our congressmen to do more work
02032019 State of the Union Assembly.jpg
President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill, Jan. 30, 2018, in Washington. - photo by Associated Press

The Times’ editorial in the Sunday, Jan. 12, edition was a much needed and explicit statement about the state of national politics. 

If our founding fathers had known that today's federal legislators would so forget their obligations to their constituents and assume that being elected to office was the way to almost certain permanent employment for themselves and their family members, the men who wrote our Constitution might well have included term limits as a necessary part of elective federal public service.

It is unlikely that our present members of Congress would ever consider imposing term limits. Staying on the federal payroll with its pay and benefits is not something they are inclined to give up. Retirement or being ousted by the voters will cause an elected official to leave office. Moreover, a legislator who leaves office receives generous retirement benefits. An elected official, especially one who has been in office for years, may be influenced by special interest groups and choose to favor them over the public good. Putting loyalty to political party over duty to the voters has brought about the current situation, as was eloquently described in your editorial. 

Without term limits, the voters can only talk about what we want our elected representatives to do and remind them that they are there to solve problems and act for the general welfare. You listed the issues facing our country: deficit, immigration, economic conditions, health care, mental health, deteriorated infrastructure, failing cities. Candidates talk about them and promise solutions but do little or nothing once in office. How long has poverty been a political issue? Why do we still have a problem with it? What about crime, disease, discrimination, illegal drugs or guns?

The voters can only speak at election time, and even if an official is voted out, the replacement may not be any better or more inclined to serve the people rather than his or her political party. People need to see more editorials like this one to teach and remind them that they are not receiving the services they elected their representatives to provide and which are paid for with tax dollars. 

It is easy to say what we need, that is, to get beyond "professional wrestling," but hard to make it happen. 

Only if the citizens demand a government that actually accomplishes something other than just talking and repeating itself over and over while not really doing much of anything, is there hope for our country. 

Thank you for putting this matter before us.

Gale J. Farlow

Gainesville

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