In recent years, there has been a discussion about extending the terms of state-wide office holders from 2 years to 4.
Vermont is one of only two states with a 2-year term for governor.
I oppose a 4-year term simply because it will give the state government a longer period of time to get things done, a reason given by some to extend the terms.
When it comes to government, I say, the less it gets done, the better.
Last Friday, the Burlington Free Press had two articles about proposed changes to state elections.
The first was about the four-year term.
Some Vermonters see greater accountability in electing candidates every two years, [Charles Smith, President of the Snelling Center for Government] said, while those who want four-year terms object to what they see as nonstop campaigning and little long-term planning.
In the same paper, there was an article about campaign finance reform. The governor said he opposes any measures going into effect this year because, “It’s not fair to change the rules in the middle of the election cycle.”
Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz, who oversees elections, argued that it wasn’t too late to have the new rules apply to 2008 races.
“It’s still early in the process,” Markowitz said. “There aren’t even declared candidates in most offices.”
Since July, she said only three candidates had filed bank designation forms required and only two political action committees have filed those forms, Markowitz said.
Back to the 4-year term discussion, it seems that the claim of “nonstop campaigning” is a little over blown, at least according to the facts.
I would say that it is worth mentioning also that the state’s Democratic Party doesn’t even have a candidate for governor yet.
So much for that nonstop campaigning.
Which brings us to the real reason for longer terms: getting things done that require long-term planning.
There is no reason why our elected officials cannot devise long-term plans.
If they come up with good plans, they should feel confident that they will still be around to carry those plans out.
If they are not good plans, I want us to be able to throw the bums out before the plans have a chance to go anywhere.
Life carries no guarantees, yet that does not stop people from planning long-term.
Our elected officials do not need the guarantee of a four-year term before they start developing long-term plans for governance.