Imagine Missouri’s stately Capitol with a vacuum hose attached like a glove around its rounded dome.
That’s how House Speaker Ron Richard describes the effect of term limits on the General Assembly.
“There’s always a vacuum up here. There’s always someone seeking power,” Richard said. “If the legislative branch doesn’t get it, forces outside the building might set policy.”
Over time, Richard said, lawmakers develop the institutional knowledge and personal fortitude to become powerful enough to stand up to the executive branch and the hordes of lobbyists who try to influence legislation. But when term limits force out elected officials before they get properly seasoned, he said, the vacuum sucks the power right out of the Capitol.
The speaker’s comments land him firmly on a growing bandwagon of Republicans and Democrats in the Show-Me State who have become disillusioned with Missouri’s constitutionally mandated limits on the amount of time elected officials can serve in the House and the Senate.
Yeah, it sucks not ruling after you get the taste for it and having to go find a job in an economy like this.
You know who continues to approve of term limits? I do. It keeps individuals from becoming too powerful and keeps the ranks of lobbyists so full of former legislators that they, too, aren’t as powerful.