Do not change term limits in Virginia: A letter to Gov Elect McDonnell

Dear Mr. McDonnell,

I am writing you because I was surprised to learn that you be advocating the end of term limits in Virginia. I was more astonished to read this in the Washington Times because given the fact that you have not taken the oath of office yet. As a supporter of your campaign and constituent I would like to know what exactly would drive you to pursue or even consider this matter worthy of examination at all.

I was very excited that you conducted such an honest and principled campaign and that inspired me to be more involved in politics again. But I am concerned about our future because we are in great trouble as a nation and as a state. There is a contention that constitutional documents are fluid and dynamic entities that need to be changed to suit changing trends. This is incorrect. Our problems stem from constantly wanting to modify laws and any other directives created to curb the expansion of government and to allow citizens to take more charge of their lives which is precisely why Virginians have elected you. The Constitution of Virginia guards against the expansion of government and derives its powers from the people. So far I hear few declarations of support for your idea and I know that it has been up for debate many times yet the law was not changed, and for good reason. Many of us simply will look at this endeavor with suspicion and ultimately vote against it.

SEC. 2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were very wise to this issue; when we give time for a government to become larger and more complex it runs away from its original purpose. By holding public servants to scrutiny during shorter periods we will have the ability to examine the shape of our government and if we don’t like the way things are done we will vote against that. I’ve been looking at term limits in other states to find the benefit of keeping one given individual in office. For the most part those are states where the economy and quality of life are so compromised that people move to other states. This is happening a lot due to high taxes, the loss of jobs and arbitrary regulations that trample on people’s rights.

SEC. 3. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and that, when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

I think it’s commendable that you have such an ambitious view of the future even before taking office but look what Governor Kaine managed to get done in his one term; most of it has been detrimental to Virginian’s safety, economy and quality of life. Four years of that has turned me and many others into cynical and suspicious of government. When I hear someone say they want to extend their time in office that sends a signal to me that there is something else afoot. Most Americans now are not so trusting and we will exercise our right to scrutinize everything that is said and done because our freedoms as a people supersede the needs or wants of individuals.

SEC. 4. That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services; which, not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator, or judge to be hereditary.

There are way too many career politicians ‘serving’ at the state and national level which to me is the same as a political dynasty. It doesn’t matter if these people are not related, once someone establishes a reputation they keep running on that platform and frankly after many years that public ‘servant’ simply becomes stagnant. Well, now that I think about it, that’s not true, some politicians enlist their entire families as some actually bring their wives or children to campaign for their seats at the end of their terms. That’s riding on someone’s name recognition; again, political dynasties are born from lengthy terms.

Still, the extension of the governor’s term is just a symptom of how we’ve been doing business for so many generations and Virginia should set the example and show restraint. If a candidate is a good prospect for the next four years, who is to say that the one candidate will always be in touch with the constituency and remain true to the his/her values beyond that term? There is something to be said about tunnel vision in that we focus on some things and after a while what we do can become routine or taken for granted. Clearly, I am for checks and balances and there is nothing wrong with stopping along the way, say, at the end of a term, to re-examine our priorities and strategies before proceeding with the business of governance.

Your campaign’s platform had the most attractive set of values and fiscal solutions that many of us, especially those from across party line, have been searching for which is why we’ve elected you. What I would like to suggest is that we shift our focus to building the strong foundations that will enable economic growth, fiscal responsibility and the general prosperity of Virginians. By all means, do clean house sir, but please, don’t set your sights on that far away target in the future before you’ve had a chance to get your hands dirty and we’ve had a chance to observe you at work. Our problems are too serious for us to be distracted with the continuation of power in the future. When your term expires there will be transitions of power and different styles of governance may be introduced buy I assure you, once you’ve left office and the new leadership moves in we should have that foundation in place ready to go.

You will be the first step in making Virginia a great place to live and do business. The idea is to maintain the continuation of sound leadership which will be carefully guarded by the constituency. If the next person does not perform to our standards the term will end and another will open up that opportunity to others to serve. I’d like you to know that all you have to do is ask if you wish to serve in that capacity again in a non-consecutive term; of course after you’ve proven a desirable track record.

I would like to congratulate you and wish you the very best. God Bless you and your family.


2 Responses to “Do not change term limits in Virginia: A letter to Gov Elect McDonnell”

  1. I think that a one term limit should be enforced on every politician, everywhere, across the board.

    It’s a simple equation – The People elect an individual based on their platform, and give them 4 years to implement it. If there is genuine support in the community by The People for a particular direction, then they will simply find another capable soul to further these goals next term.

    Surely if there is real support for an idea or political philosophy, there is more than one person in the community capable and available to serve those interests, no? For anyone to argue there is only one person for the job belies the existence of true majority support in any community for a set of ideas!

    Furthermore, ONE term limits compel candidates to truly ACT, while at the same time eliminate potential ideological compromise in an election year, and ensure that an elected member spends their time governing rather than campaigning!

    All the time and incredible effort that goes into campaigning inevitably compromises politicians seeking re-election, thus you end up with three year leaders rendered impotent every fourth year by the time and publicity demands of campaigning.

    As for ‘career politicians’, I would be tempted to take this even further – no one can serve in public office for more than one term in their entire LIFE! That might be a bit extreme, but I still think there is value in that idea, if only as a hypothetical model by which to set one’s bearings on what these roles truly represent.

    Ok, I’ll shut up now before I write my own blog here – always a pleasure to hear from No Vacancy 1776 !!

    • Hey welcome back!

      This whole thing was a turn off to me. I mean, he’s only a short few hours away from being sworn in and there’s already talk about extending his term. I will not support this change, period. I’ve had enough. I don’t have his response just yet because the campaign emails and phones and busy or there’s no one in that office. I will wait patiently…if not, I’m going to CPAC next month and he’s going to be there.

      I’d hate to have to print a copy of my letter and take it with me… ;o)

      I’ve been reading some of your stuff too…wow, your readership sure is cranking up the heat!

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