The Coastal Post - June, 1997

Term Limits For Politicians


Vice Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments

As a life-long rancher, I would like to share my perspective on term limits.

As you know, Judge Claudia Wilkens has, with the stroke of a pen, overthrown the desire of 3,744,447 people who voted in favor of limiting politicians' terms of office. Once again, politicians and judges have forgotten just who owns this government. The citizen's right to self-determination has been cast aside.

In 1994, I decided to toss my hat into the ring for the 28th Assembly District seat. A third generation rancher near Hollister, I was disgusted with politics in general and politicians in particular. Time and again I'd seen these oil-tongued rascals break promises so their political careers could be enhanced.

Term limits answered the call of everyday Californians who wanted people with real life and new experiences to run for office. How else could a cowboy like me from a town of 300 people win two consecutive elections against an opponent who spent nearly two million dollars on her campaigns?

Term limits moves our state in the right direction. It helped get rid of an imperial speakership and kingdoms created by career politicians. New members with fresh perspectives and real life experiences are being elected to the Legislature. Legislators from business, law enforcement and education backgrounds are adding to the diversity of the Assembly. The common sense ideas that come with this regular influx of representatives are more in sync with the attitudes of everyday Californians.

In an effort to prevent politicians from making their office a lifetime job, I am proposing an Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA 19) to retain term limits in our state's constitution. My bill has been carefully scrutinized to meet the constitutional issues raised by Judge Wilkens.

To those people who voted for term limits, and all others who believe that we should have more citizen participation in government, I say keep the pressure on. ACA 19 and several other bills have been introduced to keep government more responsive to you, its real owners.

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