I am a big supporter of Oklahoma's term limit laws.
There is little doubt that term limits on Oklahoma legislators was a
key factor in the breaking up of the "old guard" political machine
that used to dominate Oklahoma politics.
Those of us who are fighting to put an end to the abuses of the past
face an increased likelihood of success, due in part to the fact that
there are many new elected officials who have taken office in the past
few years. Many of these individuals have not been corrupted by the
political process. Unlike some of their predecessors, they are not
career politicians. Oklahoma's term limit law allows all
representatives and senators to serve a maximum of only twelve years
in the Legislature. After that, they are under a lifetime ban from
ever again holding office in the Legislature.
This new generation of representatives and senators is fulfilling one
of the important visions of our nation's founding fathers: the concept
of a government in which an average citizen dedicates a few years of
his or her life to representing the people as a citizen/statesman. At
the end of his/her term of office, the legislator returns to the real
world to live under the laws he or she helped create. This ensures
that legislators will be more representative of the people, rather
than becoming a class of the political elite.
As a result of the term limits law, the Legislature is very different
than it was just a few years ago. Gone are many of the "old guard"
power bosses who tightly maintained the status quo. These politicians
could have stayed in office almost indefinitely and they held powerful
committee chairmanships where they would bottle up reform-minded
legislation. They have been replaced by a group of energetic
professionals, many of whom wish to enact pro-growth policies in order
to change Oklahoma for the better. And, should some succumb to the
temptation to become part of the status quo, they will inevitably be
replaced because of term limits.
I think all Oklahomans should take pride in the fact that Oklahoma was
the first state to pass a legislative term limits law, and this year I
am honored to serve as the House Author for Senate Joint Resolution
12. SJR 12 is sponsored by in the Senate by Senator Randy Brogdon and
would allow the people to vote on expanding Oklahoma's term limit laws
to include statewide elected officials. A House version of the bill
will be carried by Representative Mike Jackson, meaning there will be
two opportunities for the effort to be successful this year.
I have written about a term limits bill in two previous years, but
unfortunately it was narrowly defeated both times. Now, because of
term limits, yet another wave of freshman representatives and senators
have been elected, and they have ensured the appointment of a new
leadership team in the State Senate that will undoubtedly support the
I think this is a good sign for the future because it demonstrates the
commitment of Oklahoma's new leaders to continued reform. It is also
important to remember that none of this would have been possible
without the people of Oklahoma taking the initiative to pass the first
term limit proposal through the initiative petition process.
As your Representative, I will continue to advocate for this important reform.