Philip Blumel: The Louisiana House. Boom. Hi, I’m Philip Blumel. Welcome to No Uncertain Terms, the official podcast for the Term Limits Movement for the week of May 31st, 2021.
Stacey Selleck: Your sanctuary from partisan politics.
Philip Blumel: Last week, the Louisiana House overwhelmingly passed the Term Limits convention resolution. If the senate follows suit, Louisiana will be the fifth state after Florida, Alabama, Missouri and West Virginia, to apply for a national amendment-writing convention limited to the subject of congressional term limits. US Term Limits executive director Nick Tomboulides has the details. Hey, Nick. We won half of the Louisiana legislature, tell us about it.
Nick Tomboulides: We did. And we’re probably at the halftime mark right now in Louisiana, ’cause we’ve still got time to get the other half which is would be the Louisiana Senate. But we passed the Louisiana State House this past week. Representative Mark Wright brought the term limits convention to the floor. It passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. It was 65 to 24. And you had mostly Republicans voting for it. It is a republican-led legislature, but also quite a few Democrats. Now, it becomes the fifth state that has passed term limits through either one or both chambers this year, which is historic. We’ve never gotten that much support before in one year. And it now advances to the State Senate of Louisiana for consideration.
Philip Blumel: Okay, and what are the prospects there?
Nick Tomboulides: I think the prospects are good, because this got into the State Senate last year. It got 16 votes, it needs 20. We’ve spent a year trying to get those extra votes. And we believe those votes are there. Our sponsor, Senator Sharon Hewitt, happens to be a very influential member of the State Senate. She’s in leadership. And she’s also the chair of the committee that this is gonna go through before it gets to the Senate floor. So that is a huge advantage to have in the world of legislating.
Philip Blumel: All right. Well, then let me ask you a question that I asked you on a previous podcast. So far in 2021, we passed the term limits convention resolution in half of Louisiana legislature, half of the Georgia legislature, half of Tennessee, half of North Carolina, which one of these is gonna be the next state to give us a full application for an amendment-writing constitution limited to the subject of congressional term limits?
Nick Tomboulides: The only one you omitted there was West Virginia, which passed fully through both chambers just a few weeks ago.
Philip Blumel: Right. Right. Right.
Nick Tomboulides: So that’s a notch in our gun. We were very successful there. And that, we can add to our count on the road to 34. But to answer your question, I think all of these states are viable. And all the work we did in all four of those states is preserved into 2022. These states actually have a two-year legislative session, which means that if you pass half of it, if you get either the State House or the State Senate, like we did in all four of these states, it carries over into the next year. And you can focus only on the chamber that you need to complete the job. So in Georgia, for example, we only need to work on the State House now. North Carolina, only need to work on the State Senate. Tennessee, only need to work on the State Senate. But in Louisiana, I think we’re gonna get it done this year. I think we’re gonna get it done in the next 10 days, ’cause we’ve got 10 days to do it. So we’ve got a sense of urgency. We’ve got a purpose here, and we know the task.
Philip Blumel: Okay, now does the victory in Louisiana carry over to next year also or just in those other states you mentioned?
Nick Tomboulides: So Louisiana is the one exception, it does not carry over, but it doesn’t need to, because Louisiana, we have such overwhelming support that it will never be a problem for us to get the Louisiana House. We passed it twice last year. We passed it a third time this year by an overwhelming margin. Mark Wright has carried it every single time. He’s not going anywhere. He’s committed. He might be the best sponsor we’ve ever had anywhere. Setting… He set a record. He’s gotten this passed three times, and with very little debate. At this point, it won’t carry over officially, but it does sort of carry over culturally because they’ve already debated it, the questions have been answered and most members are in support.
Philip Blumel: Okay. Well, excellent. We’ll be reporting on that in future podcasts for sure.
Nick Tomboulides: Oh, by the way, I think I might have called it a bill. It’s actually a resolution. We use the term bill for shorthand. It’s kind of like how a peanut is not really a nut, it’s a legume, that sort of thing. But bills are resolutions.
Philip Blumel: Yeah. And that is an important distinction because the governors would have to sign a bill after it passes both houses of a legislature for it to become law, whereas with the resolution that’s not true. With our resolution, if it passes both houses of a legislature, that is an official application for an amendment-writing convention under Article 5. It doesn’t require the governor’s signature.
Scott Tillman: Hi, this is Scott Tillman, the National field director with US Term Limits. In January, we found out that there’s a man walking across the country for term limits. Timothy Israel, who goes by Izzy, decided enough is enough and something needs to be done before career politicians run the country into the ground. As someone with no experience in lobbying or government, Izzy decided that he would set out to take the message on the road. The road he chose is a walk from South Florida with a big plan to walk all the way across our nation and to end up in northwest Washington State. Along the way, he spoke to some reporters, and at US Term Limits we found out about his trek. We contacted Izzy and he graciously agreed to help us by bouncing off his original path and doing a couple of side trips through states where the legislators are considering the term limits resolutions.
Scott Tillman: Izzy has walked over 1400 miles including over 700 in Florida, over 300 in Alabama, and over 150 in Tennessee. Currently, Izzy is walking south to north, up through North Carolina, to bring attention to the term limits resolution that the State Legislature is currently considering. The State Legislature House passed the resolution but we are currently waiting for a vote in the Senate. If you have contacts in North Carolina, please reach out to us on our North Carolina Facebook page. Izzy’s walk has been featured in over 50 articles and segments in different news media publications, including online, print and broadcast. Izzy can use our help. If you’re able, please donate on his website. Go to whereisizzy.com and you’ll be directed to Izzy’s donation page. That’s W-H-E-R-E-I-S-I-Z-Z-Y.com.
Scott Tillman: All donations will go to him personally and to help him continue his walk for Term Limits. You can also find his page by going to termlimits.com and selecting Izzy from the drop down menu of our News tab. It will require citizens standing up and taking action all over our country to pass term limits. Please pitch in and help Izzy today.
Philip Blumel: We got some encouraging news over the last several weeks as nearly all the candidates that are running for mayor of New York City have signed a pledge, our pledge, that basically says, I pledge as mayor to veto any legislation to repeal or lengthen the eight-year term limits to which elected officials in New York City are subject. Great news, but there’s one hold out.
Nick Tomboulides: There is, it’s Eric Adams, who may at this point have passed Andrew Yang in becoming a front runner to become the next mayor of New York. They have a really crazy… Not crazy, it’s an interesting voting system there called Rank-choice voting, where you put all of your candidate preferences in order, and then the candidate who has the least votes drops off and all of the people who picked that person have their second preference chosen, and they just keep doing that. They keep eliminating people until the final round when it’s down between two candidates. And so right now, it looks like it’s a three-way race between Eric Adams, who I think is a borough president in New York, Andrew Yang, who everyone knows he ran for president, pledge signer and Kathryn Garcia who is a pledge signer. So of the three front runners for New York City Mayor, two of them have signed the pledge to protect New York City term limits, and Eric Adams remains the lone hold out.
Philip Blumel: Wow, why? I saw the polling just from December, that shows how popular term limits are in New York City. 77% of voters came out and said they still support this, and of course, the voters of New York in 1993, in 1996, in 2010, in 2018, over an over vote for eight-year term limits in the city, even when the politicians tried to overthrow them again and again, so for him to refuse to sign the pledge to support them to me indicates something very, very serious.
Nick Tomboulides: It does, it does. I think it indicates that he’s probably in bed with the establishment, the New York city council and mayors office are subject to the same pressure from the lobbyists and special interests as any other seat of government in America, and him indicating that he possibly wants to eliminate term limits is a red flag. It’s a sign that maybe he’s not beholden to the people, but he’s beholden to some of these people in the smoke-filled rooms. We have a great quote in here from Howie Rich, who is… We don’t talk about him a lot on the podcast, but he’s the chairman of the board of US term limits, he also happens to be a New York City resident, and he said, “As a New Yorker, I can’t believe Eric Adams won’t protect term limits. The last time the council attacked term limits in 2008, it was a disgrace, we shouldn’t have to deal with another self-serving power grab.”
Philip Blumel: No kidding. Where is that quote from?
Nick Tomboulides: That is a quote in the press release that we put out about the pledge.
Philip Blumel: Okay, wow. Alright, well, I think that Eric Adams needs to pay attention to this because also that same RMG research poll that I just mentioned that was done in December, also showed that 73% of voters said they’re more likely to support a candidate for mayor who promises to protect the current eight-year limits. So that’s information that Eric Adams challengers or opponents need to get out there.
Nick Tomboulides: Yeah, nearly four in five… Nearly four in five New Yorkers irrespective of party said it was very important that the next mayor protect the eight-year term limits, and having lived in New York, I can tell you that people have a very bad association between the era of New York City before term limits and all the other problems the city was facing. Right or wrong… Maybe it’s not correlation being causation, but before term limits, city had very, very high crime rate, there were the squeegee men on every street corner, there were the peep shows in Times Square, it’s really been turned around.
Philip Blumel: I mean, the city was going bankrupt if you recall.
Nick Tomboulides: It was. It’s really been turned around in many ways since then, it’s fallen short in other ways, but I don’t think people wanna go back to that, I don’t think people wanna go back to the era when career politicians ruled the roost in New York.
Philip Blumel: Before we move on though, I wanna give some kudos to Maya Wiley, Kathryn Garcia, Andrew Yang, Shaun Donovan and Raymond McGuire. Those are all the New York City mayor candidates who signed the ledge. Thank you. Under any of those candidates, I think that the York city term limits would be safe. Hopefully, that’s true under Eric Adams, let’s put some pressure on him and make him come out and make that pledge.
Speaker 5: This is a public service announcement.
Philip Blumel: Millennial and former congressional candidate, Luke Negron of Pittsburgh, has posted a series of short issue-oriented videos on YouTube since the November 2020 elections. He caught our eye with his latest hot take as he calls them, on term limits.
Speaker 6: Okay, we’re starting with an easy one, term limits, this is something that should be… And in the population of the United States is one of the most bipartisan agreed-upon topics out there. Now, of course, the people in power are not going to want to endorse term limits because that means that their career politician status is going to have to end or at least it’s going to have to progress to a different office, which of course is less guaranteed than the one that they are the incumbent in, the one that they currently hold. It’s extremely simple, people in power don’t want to give up their power, people with a lush lifestyle do not want to give that up. Now, I think that that is not what America was ever meant to be and that term limits are something that which we should impose on our politicians in the House and the Senate.
Nick Tomboulides: A 20-year state legislator from New Mexico… A democratic state legislator from New Mexico has had an epiphany after decades of opposing term limits. State Senator Joe Cervantes now says, he supports it. Why?
Philip Blumel: Well, he was asked and was it the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper asked him, and he said that it’s because our democracy is failing, and it all comes down to tribal partisanship. It sounds like he’s seen the light.
Nick Tomboulides: He has seen the light and we should commend him for that. I have a lot of problems with this article ’cause it looks like the journalists are trying to call him a hypocrite, ’cause the media don’t understand term limits. They think it’s a problem that Cervantes has been in office for 20 years. They wanna bully people like him into thinking he can’t support term limits because of his own career in politics, but of course, that’s fake news, it’s never too late to do the right thing, this is… Term limits is an issue about seniority, and he’s participated in a seniority system, but that doesn’t mean he can’t express that there’s a better way to do it.
Philip Blumel: No, it is true, I give him credit because it’s one thing to be for term limits when you’re running and then all of a sudden you get elected and you’re against them, that’s a different kind of epiphany, and that is hypocritical, because what you’re really doing is you’re using the issue of term limits to your advantage when you’re running, and then once you get in and you have those perks and you wanna preserve them, you disassociate yourself for that position, and so I guess they’re trying to flip that. But you know what he’s doing is the opposite. He’s had those perks, he has the automatic re-election statistics of a long-term incumbent, he has all these benefits and now he’s saying, looking at his career and looking at what he’s seen in the legislature, he’s saying to himself, Well, you know what, term limits are a good idea. And so there’s nothing hypocritical about this, what he’s saying is that I don’t need these perks… Representatives don’t need these perks, and that’s… To me, that is an epiphany.
Nick Tomboulides: I would say 99% of the politicians who change their mind about this issue go in the opposite direction.
Philip Blumel: Of course.
Nick Tomboulides: They run for office, they say it’s a swamp, they get there, they realize it’s a hot tub, and they never wanna leave, and they change their tune about term limits and some of them will even say, Well, you know, I had a heartened discussion with my colleagues, who all have been here for 40 years, and they have informed me that term limits is not the right thing to do, so screw my constituents, but this guy is going in the opposite direction, he is cutting against the grain, he’s going against his own self-interest, and he’s doing it because he believes term limits is the right thing. He said the legislators who speak most freely are the ones who aren’t running for re-election. That’s not the first time I’ve heard that, even anti-term limit people have admitted that. John McCain said that. He said, now that I’m not running for re-election, I can speak my mind. Well, what were you doing before? It’s never too late though to do the right thing, so I commend Senator Cervantes for taking this principled stand.
Philip Blumel: Absolutely. Now, he’s not just talking, I wanna make it clear that he proposed a constitutional amendment for term limits on state legislators, including himself in New Mexico, and it got shot down. They didn’t even wanna give it a hearing, but he made that effort, and I think it’s also interesting that he… As you mentioned, he’s a Democratic legislator, is echoing what a Republican legislator, Dennis Kintigh, I think his name is from Roswell, about a decade ago, proposed the exact same thing, and they shot him down too, of course, the incumbent legislators did, but it’s interesting that Cervantes like Kintigh before him, recognized this, tried to do something, and kudos to them both.
Nick Tomboulides: We will definitely be reaching out to Senator Cervantes about possibly working together on these issue and especially finding out whether he supports the term limits convention, I suspect based on these comments that he certainly will.
Philip Blumel: I bet he does.
Philip Blumel: Thanks for joining us for another episode of No Uncertain Terms. The term limits convention bills are moving through the state legislatures, this could be a break through year for the term limits movement. To check on the status of the term limits convention resolution in your state, go to termlimits.com/takeaction. There, you will see if it has been introduced and where it stands in the committee process on its way to the floor vote. If there’s action to take, you’ll see a Take Action button by your state, click it. This will give you the opportunity to send a message to the most relevant legislators urging them to support the legislation, they have to know you’re watching. That’s termlimits.com/takeaction. If your state has already passed the term limits convention resolution or the bill has not been introduced in your state, you can still help. Please consider making a contribution to US Term Limits. It is our aim to hit the reset button on the US Congress and you can help. Go to termlimits.com/donate. Termlimits.com/donate. Thanks. We’ll be back next week.
Stacey Selleck: Find us on most social media at US Term Limits. Like us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and now TikTok.
Speaker 8: USTL.