Term limitsThe Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that term limits are within the realm of the Constitution.
As things stand, only county officials are term-limited, but since Knox County also has a term limit on the books, the ruling could apply to Knox County officials as well. The whole mess has caused a huge stink because people who would be term-limited assumed that they were not, and ran for re-election. Since there is a local primary coming up in a little over a month, the question has arisen as to who, if anyone, should be removed from the ballot.
The ruling could disqualify twelve Knox County Commissioners: Mark Cawood, Larry Clark, David Collins, John Griess, Phil Guthe, Mary Lou Horner, Diane Jordan, John Mills, Mike McMillan, Wanda Moody, John Schmid and Billy Tindell. Sheriff Tim Hutchison could conceivably be disqualified as well, although the Knox County Election Commission says they aren't removing anyone from the ballot on such late notice.
I have a different opinion of term limits than many other Tennessee Republicans. Having seen how term limits have worked (or not worked) in other States, I strongly believe that term limits will leave our State with a terrible drought of leadership as our experienced leaders will either be forced into retirement or get around the intent of the law by simply seeking other offices of similar or greater stature to the offices they previously held. Republicans will see the impact of term limits if we finally get control of the legislature and have term limits that force our experienced men and women out, and could cost the GOP seats. The nature of the Republican relationship to the term limits movement is that limits are fine until they begin to cost the GOP legislative seats.
Term limits are a knee-jerk reaction to a larger problem-the average man or woman does not feel that he or she can run for office and beat an incumbent. Perhaps what we really need to do is revisit some very old-style campaign techniques, like knocking on every door in the district, and speaking from the back of a train or the bed of a truck.