In part five of my interview with Ed Martin, Ed explains that he plans to explore his run for Congress by talking to the people of Missouri's third district. He will do that by holding "Ask Ed" sessions where voters will be able to press him on the issues they care about. He hasn't nailed down a specific format—it could be a kitchen table conversation or something larger. I decided to avail myself of the opportunity and ask Ed about the founding principal of RebootCongress: ending consecutive legislative terms. Specifically, I asked Ed if he would be willing to commit to serving one term and possibly having another go in 2014. He supports term limits, but he was unwilling to promise one term, for now. Clearly, I've got to work harder on my sales pitch!
Since it may come up in the comments, here are some advantages of eliminating consecutive legislative service:
- Losers of a primary have an incentive to support the winner since they'll likely be vying for his position in a couple years and, therefore, his blessing.
- Once elected the politician expects to return to their district instead of Washington, so they'll be less interested in serving Washington (consolidating power) and more inclined to serve their district.
- Once elected the politician has no need to collect donations for a campaign.
- Nor do they have any need to campaign while on our dime. They may do it for a favored candidate, but that might be a turn-off to voters since the new expectation is that there's no campaigning while serving.
- They'll get to live like a regular member of their district's community, re-familiarizing themselves with that community, but, more importantly, re-acquainting themselves with common humility.
- Politicians will not be unassailable in a consecutive primary (since they wont be in it)—incumbent advantage is drastically reduced. This means that it will be easier to get rid of the tainted politicians and it will take a national spotlight off of them (usually) so that they can clear their name while out of office (if possible).
- It helps to add depth to the bench. It gets more people involved in government.