One of the little-known facts about congressmen who voluntarily limit their terms in office is that most of them keep their word. Even state and local political leaders who usually don’t have a national spotlight shining on them also voluntarily limit their terms and also keep their word.
Yes, it’s been known to happen. And we’ve just found another. His name is Brent Steele, and he’s an Indiana representative who has announced that he won’t seek a fifth term. Why? Because in 1994, term limits was a major theme of his campaign. He advocated them, and now he’s going to live by them.
Steele didn’t succeed in bringing term limits to the whole Indiana legislature. But he knows one way he can make term limits a reality. As Steele puts it, “I was for [term limits] then and after eight years [in the legislature], I’m even more convinced I was right. People get too concerned with politics and not policy. It’s a pretty polluted process, and the only way I see changes is term limits. I believe people should get out every so often and let the process begin fresh.”
Steele, who has achieved the rank of House minority whip, says he has accomplished many of his goals as a legislator, though he is disappointed that the budget process is still ridden with favoritism and pork. But he’s ready to let somebody else tilt at that particular windmill.
“I served the right amount of time, in my mind,” he says. “I rose in leadership. I didn’t leave anything on the table.” Good for you, Brent Steele.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.