Hanson: Term limits are yesterday’s idea

One of the issues being discussed by Doug Burgum in his campaign for governor is the issue of term limits for our state and federal office holders. While he supports them, the...

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Carma Hanson

One of the issues being discussed by Doug Burgum in his campaign for governor is the issue of term limits for our state and federal office holders. While he supports them, the

Republican endorsed candidate for governor, Wayne Stenehjem, does not. I would concur with Wayne’s position.

The argument for limits says that it reduces corruption. The argument against it says that with longer service, officials gain more experience and become more effective representatives for us over time. I don’t necessarily feel that Bismarck is the hotbed of corruption, so I’m going to stick with the experience point.

I would like to compare government service to a position in the business world. As a person that has hired people over the years, I look for people who are loyal and committed to their place of employment.

Once we have invested time and money into them, they gain valuable experience that help to carry out the mission of our organization. They teach and groom younger and newer employees and serve as mentors to them. Loyalty is important in the work force and it is important in governmental roles as well. Why would you want to cut short the service of a good employee or a well-respected and effective public servant.


Wayne Stenehjem is an attorney and one that could be making significantly more money in the private sector but instead, he is a loyal public servant who has served our state well, the very kind of person you want working for you. He has developed relationships, expertise and partnerships that make the great work being done in our state possible. As long as an employee or governmental official is doing exceptional work, why would you want to put an end to their service.

My position on term limits is shared by many in our state. The idea of term limits has been shot down three times in recent years by the voters in North Dakota. In 1996, term limits were proposed on the election ballot as an initiated measure. It failed. In 2010, term limits were proposed as a ballot measure but it died from lack of interest before election day.

Again in 2012, the idea was proposed as a ballot measure but died before it saw the light of day.

Term limits? Why? I think voters in our state realize something. We already have term limits in place. They are called elections.

Each time voters go to the ballot box, we are given the chance to give an elected official more years of service or to end their time in that role.

Wayne Stenehjem has not only been a loyal and trusted public servant, he has earned the respect and trust of the people of North Dakota. I support North Dakota’s stance on no term limits and I support Wayne Stenehjem for governor along with his running mate, state Sen. Nicole Poolman for lieutenant governor. I hope you will join me and vote for these Republican-endorsed candidates on June 14.

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