Letter: Columnist off the mark on term limits
I read with interest the letter from Lloyd Omdahl on the consequences of term limits. (I wish he would replace that 1950's picture. It's as outdated as his position.) Lloyd the omnipotent has laid down the cobblestones of proper thinking on the monarchs to elected office. Not! His concerns are:
- Loss of accountability
- Crippled leadership
- Strengthen lobbyists
- Lose to executive branch
- Lower quality legislation
- Fewer consensus builders
- Need unproven
To tell you the truth, I'm insulted by the implications of the first six items. You do not have to be elected to office or remain there forever to have an impact on the actions or direction of government. If that were true, there would be no need for hearings during the legislative session or during off year committee hearings.
Lloyd also has a very narrow understanding of lobbyists. If you call, send a fax or drop by and talk to an elected official about anything other than family and the weather you are a lobbyist. Registered lobbyists are a main source of information and do have a right to a position on their primary issue. But a fifth grader could figure that out.
As Lloyd stated, there are 15 states that have term limits and they were voted in by the boss, the people. We the people don't just approve these things for the fun of it. At least in 15 cases it was felt that there was a need. We the voters may not always be right but we always pay the bill. (And we pay even when the elected few are wrong.)
Lloyd talks about "dead wood." In my opinion dead wood occurs in elected office in North Dakota after eight years. Very few new and innovative ideas are offered after eight years and there seems to be an attitude of "that's the way it worked in the past."
We have the educated and qualified people across the state to take the reins. Mr. Omdahl did not mention the estimate that up to 37 percent of legislator's primary reason for running for office is the free health care. Some even make a career out of state travel.
As the years go by in office, is this more or less important? Could these things cloud the requirement of serving the people?
Leon L. Mallberg, Dickinson