Saturday, January 2, 2010

Is there Support for Allowing Governors to Run for Reelection?

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about whether or not Virginia's governors should be able to run for reelection instead of being limited to one term. Some Democrats would have really liked this policy to be in place already because they thought Tim Kaine would have been able to give Bob McDonnell a better run for his money, but I think this is a policy that should be promoted no matter who is currently living in the governor's mansion. As the News Leader's editorial board pointed out today, there are a number of benefits to allowing governors to serve two consecutive terms.
It makes sense. By limiting the chief executive's time in office, the first year is spent getting up to speed, the middle years running the office and the last 18 months as a lame duck. If the governor were given the opportunity to work toward convincing voters he deserved another term, he could spend more time laying groundwork for better management of the state — and more political motivation to convince legislators and voters that he should be able to continue.

Continuity of policies certainly should make government work better.
Now the thing that I believe needs to be stressed is that "continuity of policies" could be a good thing if the policies are sound and are actually going to improve our communities. We shouldn't have continuity just for the sake of continuity, just as we shouldn't have change just for the sake of change. With that in mind, it would be the governor's responsibility to show voters why his/her policies were good and how he/she is going to continue the work for another four years.

By having to actually prove their policies are working and that they are thinking about the long term, Governor's might have to change their way of thinking. They won't have to force all their priorities into one term, but could potentially space them out throughout eight years. This would allow the government to spend the time needed to fully develop programs that will work properly as well as spending time addressing immediate concerns. And this is where the News Leader is absolutely correct is stating that allowing a governor to serve for consecutive terms would be good for Virginians. Given the fact that there has been a lot of opposition to this change in the General Assembly and there are a number of other tough issues Virginia is currently facing, however, I don't foresee any change in this policy in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly believe that it's a debatable point, but if passed, it should not become effective until after the election of the Governor incumbent upon its passage. That is, the Governor when it is passed should not be eligible to run for a consecutive second term. That should solve any concerns about passage for transient political concerns and allow a debate purely on the merits.

    And I agree that it has little chance for passage, given that it would increase the power of the Governor, and reduce the power of the legislature.

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