Manny Sethi, orthopedic trauma surgeon and former candidate for U.S. Senate, urged the Tennessee State Legislature to fully support congressional term limits.
In an opinion piece written in The Tennessean, Sethi argued that unlimited terms allow career politicians to gather support from establishment figures and run with limited competition.
Sethi says, “Term limits create regular, competitive elections in every congressional district. There would be no more establishment incumbents coasting back into office over decades without facing serious electoral competition.”
Further, Sethi argues that allowing politicians to remain in office for decades benefits career politicians more than voters.
“Term limits sever the cozy long-term, and well-funded, relationships between special interests and statistically unbeatable incumbents. The threat of losing influence is why lobbyists are one of the only identifiable subsets of voters who oppose this popular reform,” he continued. “Term limits discourage corruption. Corruption is highly correlated with tenure as long tenure, particularly without serious electoral competition, encourages hubris and provides greater power and opportunity to manipulate the system for one’s own benefit.”
Sethi’s solution is for the Tennessee State Legislature to pass a resolution calling for a Term Limits Convention. In doing so, he argued, Tennessee would join multiple other states and apply pressure for change in Washington D.C.
The Term Limits Convention would be a national convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution limited to the subject of Congressional term limits.
The Tennessee House of Representatives passed a similar resolution earlier this year, but the senate has yet to act.
Sethi has been consistent in his support for term limits. During his campaign, Sethi promised to serve no more than two terms and support a constitutional amendment to enact official term limits.
Among Tennesseans, term limits for members of Congress are widely popular. According to a poll, almost 80% of Tennesseans — across all political ideologies — support the concept. However, Congress has yet to meaningfully consider any legislation.
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