As part of their AP U.S. Government studies, Marshfield High School students researched and compiled information on an issue they cared about and wrote letters to the editor. Hub City Times will publish a collection of their letters.
Term limits have been implemented for 15 state legislatures, and 37 states place limits on their constitutional officers. Term limits for congressmen would limit the effects of the incumbency advantage. The incumbency advantage allows for the easier re-election of congressmen that are already in office.
Congressmen attempt to have a high approval rating from the public because re-election is pivotal for helping the people. However, some try to earn approval from the public just to get re-elected because they feel attempting to help the people in a way with which the public disagrees might lessen their chance of being re-elected.
A good term limit would be set for members of the House of Representatives and a set amount of terms for the Senate. Members who meet the term limit of one house of Congress should be able to be elected into the other house until they meet the limit of that house. Both houses would have their own limit, so a congressman could have total terms equal to the sum of both houses of Congress. This would allow new members and new ideas to be introduced into the legislative branch.
Term limits also function as a check to corruption and promote political accountability. For example, Brazil has a one-term limit for the president and, thus, allows the country to address its worst problems through a consensus. However, this might not be popular for Congress members, so we need an overwhelming support from citizens that want to see a change in our government.
Lucas J. Paulman