While often dominant in football rivalries, Oklahoma is viewed as perpetually behind Texas in other areas. Legislative measures filed in Oklahoma are often based on Texas practices. Yet the state of Texas could soon duplicate Oklahoma in one important political reform: term limits.
Rick Perry, a Republican, is already Texas' longest-serving governor. He could run for another four-year term, potentially serving 18 years in office. A proposed ballot measure pending in the Texas legislature would allow voters to set a limit of two consecutive terms for all statewide elected officials. Supporters, who include Republicans, insist that Perry isn't being targeted, but the unprecedented length of Perry's tenure clearly has increased interest in limiting future officeholders' lock on power.
Texas Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, decries the proposal, saying Texans “already have term limits. It's called the ballot box.” That argument may sound familiar to Oklahomans, who often heard it from then-entrenched Democratic lawmakers when this state considered legislative term limits. The desire to preserve political power crosses party lines.
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