Letter: Vote no on term limit increases for county commissioners
The timing of this ballot initiative is telling of the drafter’s motives, and not only because this is an off-year election. Both Kathy Chandler-Henry and Jeanne McQueeney are at their term limits and can’t run again. While Commissioner Chandler-Henry has made a public commitment not to run for a third term, Commissioner McQueeney refuses to say either way.
If the Eagle County commissioners believe this is a good idea, they should have put it up in a way that isn’t self-serving, meaning it shouldn’t apply to them or, at the very least, if it can’t be written in a way to exclude the current members, the current board should commit to not taking advantage of it.
If this is such a no-brainer, it would have passed the past two times it was introduced. In fact, the last time the measure was soundly defeated with over 68% of the vote. In reality, two terms is considered good enough for every other level of executive office, in Colorado and nationally. Two terms for mayor, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, and, of course, the president. Eight years is the maximum for the state Legislature, and similar limits would apply to the federal legislature if the federal government didn’t override the will of Colorado voters in 1995. Surely our county commissioners aren’t any better than the other executive positions in government. If anything, more positions of power should be term-limited, not less.
Simply put, being a county commissioner should not be a career. Unfortunately, the lavish salary and benefits package makes it possible to make it one. What keeps things in check is term limits. Career politicians are a major contributor to the separation between our lawmakers and the general public. Term limits help level the playing field and push back against incumbency bias, allowing for new ideas to permeate in a system otherwise predisposed against change.
All three county commissioners have done a good job generally speaking and are lovely people, but it is time for new blood with new ideas. If they are so determined to be in government, there is a shiny House of Representatives seat available to the most qualified Democrat in 2022. They will have to take a pay cut, but that’s the way it goes.
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Vote “no” on Eagle County Ballot Issue 1A: Modifying term limits for the Office of County Commissioner.