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Term is too short

Published November 13. 2013 05:00PM

The 2013 election wars just ended and already campaigning has begun for 2014.

One of the officials we'll be voting for next year is our state representative. Yes, we only elected the present ones in 2012. But our state lawmakers serve terms of only two years.

That means they spend a large portion of their term campaigning. Even if they only campaign for six months, that amounts to 25 percent of their term.

Virtually all other offices are four-year terms from president to governor to mayor.

Apparently the two-year terms were established in the state constitution. While we generally feel the constitution should remain intact, occasionally something occurs which warrants a change.

Election campaigns are expensive, time consuming, and distracting. It's hard for a lawmaker to concentrate fully on his job when he must be out on the campaign trail for 25 percent of his term or more.

We advocate term limits, but that isn't the same as increasing the length of a term, at least in the case of state representatives.

Campaigning means leaving Harrisburg to try to get your constituents to vote for you. While you're in Harrisburg, you're generally out of sight and out of mind, even if you are representing them.

It means spending huge amounts of money. Other politicians have to worry about such expenditures every four years, but not representatives. They have to buy their ads and promote themselves more frequently.

Also, how can they concentrate on long-term projects if their terms are so very short?

When our forefathers drew up the regulations that constitute two-year terms, the population wasn't as great as it is today. There wasn't such a mixture of media which today includes TV, radio, posters, the internet, and, of course, newspapers. Campaigns then didn't cost the thousands of dollars they cost today.

With legislators, we hardly get to know the candidate before it's time to vote for them again.

We have no problem with the four-year terms. In fact, that seems the perfect length of time for an office holder to either prove himself or be replaced by a different voters' choice.

Hopefully lawmakers will consider changing terms of state representatives from two years to four years. It not only seems more logical from a citizen standpoint, it brings more compatibility to the rest of the state and federal elected offices.


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