We need term limits and publicly financed elections

March 31, 2010

Sen. Andy Harris has put his endorsement on the need for a Constitutional Ammendment to change the length of terms for our elected representatives ("Idea of term limits for Congress gets new wave of support," March 30). Good for him!

Our country is trapped in a system of elections that doesn't work for the citizens, a system that leads to corruption at all levels of government, and to the current "Imperial" nature of the life of the federal office holders who are very happy with their lifestyle and who protect their position with little regard for their hometown constituency. It seems to me that their main efforts are directed toward keeping their financial contributors, corporations and lobbyists happy.

What is needed, along with a change to two four-year terms for both senators and representatives, is a change in the way elections are funded. We must break the cycle of private funding for elections, which leads to the inevitable quid pro quo in favor of those who paid for the elections. We should insist on meaningful election reforms, i.e. shorter campaign cycles, public funding of election costs and severe restrictions of the use of costly TV-based campaigns.

The people who need to act on these reforms are the same ones who enjoy their current cushy situation, replete with wonderful salaries, staffs, pensions, medical coverage, first class air travel, trips and hotel stays, and in general an enviable lifestyle. I think that this seemingly "impossible to change" situation is what has led to the citizen demonstrations called, inappropriately, tea parties. I hope that this outpouring of frustration with the current political situation will grow and spread until the people's opinions are heard and acted on.

Sam Davis, Towson

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