At Unite NY our simple credo is, if democracy is good, more democracy is better. Few issues more simply or better exemplifies this than term limits. Incumbents, in heavily gerrymandered district, armed with countless advantages over challengers, often stay in office for decades, leaving New York voters with fewer choices and feeling powerless in the democratic process.
The solution to this problem is limiting the amount of time one person can hold an office. The idea of term limits is wildly popular with New York voters, in fact, our latest Voter Empowerment Index found that more than 80 percent of voters want term limits for Governor and Legislature. As we look across the nation, a whopping 36 States – nearly 3/4 – have term limits on their governors. It’s not only an issue at State Capitols, look at Congress, where more than a third of United States Senators are over 80 years old and have been in Washington for decades.
The challenge becomes how do you get an incumbent to voluntarily legislate themselves out of work? At first glance, it seems like a tough challenge. However, since the beginning of the 2023 legislative session, we have been working hard to convince our lawmakers of the merits of term limits for all state elected posts. The somewhat surprising and positive news is that most agree term limits of some kind are needed. Most of the dozens of the state representatives we’ve met with this year are but seem to get hung up on the right number of terms or years.
Kudos to Assemblymembers Monica Wallace and Carrie Woerner, along with Senator Joe Griffo, who have all offered their own term limit proposals and the many other legislators with which we’ve met. While our organization has not endorsed a specific proposal or limit on the number of years a person can serve, we are actively working with some very diligent public servants who agree that it is time for New York to join 36 other states that have term limits for Governor and 16 states that impose term limits on legislators.
We are excited about the progress that is being made and look forward to working with the legislature on new proposals in 2024.
To stay up to date on progress on term limits and other democracy reform initiatives? Please consider joining Unite NY and adding your name to the loud majority of voters that want more choices and more voices in our State.