Term Limits: Together, We Can Break the Cycle of Incumbency

If I am elected your congressman, the clock will begin ticking for me the moment I begin serving. I am running for office in Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District to represent you as an elected citizen legislator—not as an elected politician. There is a fundamental difference between the two.

Because I believe our forefathers created our system of public offices to serve the public good—and not to build careers for politicians—I believe strongly in term limits for federal officeholders. As your congressman, I would push for a constitutional amendment to establish term limits.

Of course, we’re not there yet. So I will pledge to you, voters of the 1st District, that I would term limit myself. I would serve no more than five terms for the people, 10 years total. After that time, I would go back to being a private citizen again, the way it was supposed to be.

How did our system come to this? To a system where those in the House of Representatives and the Senate serve term after term, stretching out careers that last decades? It wasn’t always that way.

In 19th century America, it was common for political leaders to rotate election to the U.S. House of Representatives among multiple people. Abraham Lincoln served one term in the U.S. House and chose not to run for re-election. Term limits weren’t necessary then, since Congressmen and Senators realized that a permanent class of politicians was less effective than citizens who served their country for a few years, then went back home and became private citizens again.

It is time that we resurrect that notion: that our Congressmen and Senators are citizen legislators who serve their country for a few years, and then return home. There are a whole host of reasons why incumbency, over time, becomes problematic and does not serve the public good. Incumbents have significant, innate advantages in fundraising, and this can cause incumbents to cater to the interest of major contributors, sometimes in place of serving everyday women and men who are their constituents.

Together, we can break the cycle of incumbency. If you elect me as your congressman, the clock begins ticking immediately. Five terms, maximum. Period. And I will push for an amendment to make term limits the norm—so career politicians become a relic of the past.

I thank for your interest and support.