With no term limits for Congress and the age and cognitive skills of elected officials coming into question, many are calling for age limits for Congress. In North Dakota, Jared Hendrix and Retire Congress North Dakota are leading the charge to set age limits for who can be elected to Congress from North Dakota. They have cleared the hurdles to gather the signatures for a proposed state constitutional amendment that would prohibit anyone from the age of 80 or older from being elected to Congress from North Dakota. Hi, I’m Holly Robichaud and this is Breaking News on Term limits. US Term Limits is the largest bipartisan grassroots term limits advocacy group in the country.
While we see action at the state level for congressional term limits, speculation continues to swirl around that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy with assistance from House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan are working to kill the up and down vote on House Joint Resolution 11, the US term limits amendment filed by South Carolina representative Ralph Norman, which has over 100 co-sponsors. During the battle for the Speakership McCarthy promised a clean vote on the US term limits amendment. This was one of the promises that McCarthy made to win the speakership in the 15 ballot speakership contest. But now we’re hearing from multiple sources that he intends to kill House Joint Resolution 11 and substitute it with another term limits bill that would allow for six terms. That’s 12 years in the house, two terms in the Senate, that’s another 12 years. That’s right. Over 20 combined years for career politicians in DC.
That would gut the whole concept of congressional term limits. Even worse, it would put the 112 members of the House who signed the US term limits pledge when running for office in a horrible predicament. They could either vote for the sham bill and break their solemn pledge, or they could go on record opposing term limits. Worse yet, it gives opponents of true term limits a sham vote. The age and health of members of Congress is again on the forefront of the news. California Senator Dianne Feinstein, age 89, was caught on camera being unaware of a piece of legislation she was voting on and had to be told by an aide which way to vote. This is not the first instance of her cognitive skills being questioned. Politico reported that an aide is always with her as she doesn’t recognize Senate colleagues anymore. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell also has his problems. Age 81, he froze for 15 seconds when speaking to members of the media last week.
He then was escorted away from the reporters. He later said he was feeling lightheaded from the heat. This is not the first health issue he has had. Remember, he was elected in 1984. In Arizona we’re welcoming Steve Kaiser as our new state co-chair. Steve was a member of the Arizona State Senate in 2023. He previously served as state representative in Arizona’s 15th District. He was a captain in the US Army. Along with our co-chair Diego Rodriguez, he will work tirelessly to advance term limits in Arizona. If it seems like the elected leadership of the United States Congress is perhaps on the verge of being too old for office, well, it’s not your imagination. The current 118th Congress is the oldest it’s been in two decades, a fact we’ve all seen with Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Dianne Feinstein recently.
Current polling shows that more than half of the Americans support a maximum age limit for elected officials to hold office. And prominent public figures including Elon Musk and former President Jimmy Carter have expressed desires to see limitations put in place. That’s why in North Dakota Retire Congress is busy gathering signatures to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot that would prohibit anyone aged 80 or older from being elected to Congress from North Dakota. That’s why today we’ll be talking to Retired Congress’ leader Jared Hendrix. Hey, today we’ve got joining us Jared Hendrix, who is our North Dakota hero, passed term limits last year. And now he’s taking on a new initiative of putting age limits on members of Congress. Jared, welcome to the show.
Hey, Holly. Thanks for having me on.
Thank you. Hey, tell us about this new ballot initiative.
Yeah, so it’s pretty simple. It’s saying that anyone who is elected in the state of North Dakota to one of our three Congress positions, ’cause we only have one member of Congress and of course two US senators, cannot attain the age of 80 during their time in office. So it’s an age limit. It’s congressional age limit, only applies to our members of Congress. And, you know, Congress hasn’t acted on this. They haven’t acted on term limits. And if you look at what’s happening in the news in the last few weeks with Mitch McConnell’s episode, with some of the situations with Senator Feinstein outta California, we don’t want those problems in North Dakota. So that’s why we’re doing it.
All right. Well, so why do you think that this will go over well right now in North Dakota?
Well, I think it’s kind of one of the topics of the day. I mean, people are watching, even our president, president Biden, which obviously our measure doesn’t affect that, people are still watching that. And there’s a lot of legitimate questions about age of people in office in general right now. And plus it’s just common sense, and it’s actually not without precedent. In North Dakota, you actually can’t be a state judge with your full retirement benefits if you don’t retire by 73. That’s already in our law. And there’s 31 other states that have certain restrictions on judges, mandatory retirements where they lose retirement benefits. And some of those limits are age 65 or 70. So we think it’s very reasonable to say at age 80, we think the support will be widespread. There’s actually some people that think it should be 65. So we think we’re being pretty pragmatic, and I think it’s gonna have wide support.
All right, how many signatures do you need and how are the signatures going?
It’s going good. You know, it always starts a little slow when you’re trying to build a team, but it’s going good. And in North Dakota, we have this thing called the winter that we have to avoid if possible. So we’re scrambling. You know, I think… I don’t know the exact number. I think maybe we have 6,000 or 7,000 at this point. We have to get 31 some thousand signatures.
31,000 and some change, which is a good number. And of course you always wanna get more because inevitably there’ll be some errors, but we think we’ll get to it and we should be able to get on the ballot by next June, we’re hoping.
Well, you’ve had some great success out in North Dakota previously, and I bet you’re gonna do it again this time. Where do people go to join your team?
Yeah, so they can go check out our website, retirecongressnorthdakota.com. And there’s a lot of information on there with… There’s an FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions. They can sign up on our mailing list. They can obviously share our content, which is good, no matter where they live, we want people to share and them to see what we’re doing. ‘Cause this is kind of a national story, even though it only affects North Dakota. And ultimately we want other states to emulate what we’re doing. So, retirecongressnorthdakota.com.
All right. Well, Jared, you’ve been our hero out there in North Dakota with everything you’ve done with passing term limits and now this initiative, we wish you all the best of luck and thank you for joining us today.
Thanks for having me, Holly.
In North Dakota, as I mentioned, Retire Congress is busy gathering signatures to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot that would prohibit anyone aged 80 or older from being elected to Congress from North Dakota. The proposed amendment, if passed, would not impact any current North Dakota Congressional office holders eligible for re-election in 2024. Retire Congress is launching this ballot initiative as the public questions the ability of many elected leaders in Washington aged 80 and older, including Senators Dianne Feinstein and Mitch McConnell. Without congressional term limits in our federal constitution preventing members from serving indefinitely, many in Congress hold their positions for life. Polling shows large numbers of Americans favor age term limits on members of Congress. Another big week in people signing our pledge. For the Congressional pledge, we had candidates from California all the way to Rhode Island signing our pledge. We picked up 11 new pledges. For the Article V pledges, we picked up 25 new pledges, ranging from states from Florida, to New York, to Texas. Way to go pledge team.
It’s time to end the stranglehold of career politicians. So help us make Congressional term limits a reality. US Term Limits is always looking for volunteers to help us out in our efforts. Check out termlimits.org and get involved today. Congressional term limits can become a reality. We’ve got the momentum, but we need your help. We can’t do it alone. So please go to termlimits.org and get involved today. And be sure to share this program with your friends and family every week. This is Holly Robichaud. Tune in next week for Breaking News on Term Limits.