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Letter: Term limits

As an elected official, I think you only lose the power you don’t take.

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I enjoyed the coverage of Congressman Johnson’s visit with our Rotary Club. I, too, have been very interested in the congressional term limit issue. Since I was not in attendance, I will only comment on what was included in the coverage.

The first point is that South Dakotans want federal term limits. We term limited our state legislators in 1992. One point that I didn’t see was that I believe term limits require a constitutional amendment. The Congress has had opportunities to put the issue on the ballot, but it never gets the right support.

Mr. Johnson gave the same “old” arguments as to why you (meaning us) don’t want them. Shifts of power to the executive branch, too much power going to non-elected folks. Why then do we limit mayors, city councils, commissioners, state legislators and yes… the President of the United States?

As an elected official, I think you only lose the power you don’t take.

Mr. Johnson commented about needing a balance of the new and the old to help the legislative process. That goes without saying. There are many models to look at. The state of South Dakota has one. Not all legislators will go out at the same time so there’s going to be a balance. Stop kicking the can down the road.


Two of the longest serving congressional members are Democrat Pelosi and Republican McConnell. They are each about 80 years old. Each has served about 40 years. They should be retired. New blood and new relationships among Republicans and Democrats may alleviate the poor “sandbox” we (public) endure.

Term limits are not a cure all, but it sure wouldn’t hurt.

After a meeting of our colonial Confederation of the States, someone asked Ben Franklin what came of the meeting. His response… “A Republic, if you can keep it!”

Those words ring so true today!

Ed Olson

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The media was in charge of putting forth questions that fit the Chamber’s establishment agenda.