Lawmakers and Term Limits
At the Capitol a couple of weeks ago I bumped into several of our Legislators who are termed out this session. Because of the term limits Oklahoma voters passed a few years ago some longterm Senators and Representatives are prohibited from running for reelection. When term limits were being debated I was against the idea of telling voters they could not reelect their representatives for longer than 12 years - but, I have changed my mind in recent years. The closer I got to working with Legislators the more I came around on this issue.
When I see Senators such as Charles Ford, Jerry Smith, Frank Shurden, et al lurking around the halls of the Capitol building the more I accept the concept of booting them out. None of these men care a hoot about what their constituents want yet their constituents - on autopilot, kept reelecting them because they recognized the names when they saw the ballot. Charles Ford is the grumpiest fart in the Capitol - yes, he appreciates art - but his arrogance has become a burden even he cannot stand. He doesn't know how to smile - or listen to his constituents - unless they are rich.
Jerry Smith's arrogance is such that he refuses to meet with or even talk to his own constituents he doesn't agree with. Case in point: both Smith and Ford represent districts in Tulsa that voted overwhelmingly for the ban on cockfighting a couple of years ago but both Repubs have consistently voted with rural Democrats to try to keep cockfighting legal in Oklahoma.
Democrat Shurden, as readers of this blog know, has spent his career in the Capitol doing the bidding of the National Rifle Association, trying pass bills to castrate sex offenders, and protect his buddies, the cockfighters. He walks around the Capitol building looking like a balding bully spoiling for a fight. Gives one the creeps just seeing the guy.
These are examples of why term limits were passed and why they needed to be. Most citizens don't see what goes on at the Capitol and thus do not realize how their interests get traded away by the Fords, the Smiths, and the Shurdens every day. Most people are just too busy making a living to pay attention to what the multitude of Legislators are doing. The lack of attention breeds arrogance on the part of the worst of those at the Capitol and term limits are the only way to get them out the door.