Statement of Common Cause Massachusetts about Term Limits for House Speaker
- pam wilmot
Common Cause Massachusetts has long-supported term limits for chief executive officers such as Governor and for House Speaker and Senate President. We are deeply disappointed at the current attempt to remove the term limit for Speaker of the House.
Term limits for these offices serve important governmental functions, especially for legislative leaders who are not elected statewide but have statewide influence. Term limits restrict the amount of power than can be amassed by a leader and ensure predictable, stable, transitions of power. Without a term limit, leaders must either be deposed, which can be very disruptive to a legislative body, or happen when a legislative leader is indicted or under an ethical cloud, or, very rarely, when a leader looses interest and decides to move on, typically after securing a post for a successor. None of these scenarios are healthy ones for the legislature or for the Commonwealth.
The fact that the current team is working well is not a reason to remove term limits; nor is the new ideas a new leader can bring a reason to keep them. Ultimately term limits are about keeping political power in check and about how to best ensure a thoughtful, predictable, and regular transition of power.
We urge members to vote against any proposal to remove the term limit for the Speaker.