Self-Serving Owen Hill Sinks Term Limits in CO

State Senator Owen Hill, the most anti-term limit legislator in Colorado.

by Nick Tomboulides

Term limits are the most beloved issue in Colorado, with backing from 81 percent of state residents. There’s no partisan divide on the topic either, as supermajorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents are behind it.

The only place in Colorado where term limits aren’t supported is ironically the one place where we need something to be done about it: under the gold dome at the State Capitol in Denver. Last week, the Colorado Senate defeated by a 25-10 margin a resolution that would have helped spark an amendment-writing convention to term limit Congress.

Sponsors of the measure were looking to use Article V of our Constitution, once an afterthought in civics class, to bypass Washington and deliver term limits without needing Congress to approve.

The resolution’s chances looked strong before State Senator Owen Hill, a candidate for Congress from Colorado Springs, took to the floor to denounce term limits.

Hill made the long-disproved case that special interests and lobbyists are fans of term limits. In fact, following the money proves the opposite is true. Decades of funding data from hundreds of campaigns shows that lobbyists give money exclusively to whichever side wants to repeal term limits. As ex-megalobbyist Jack Abramoff has said, “a representative who stayed in office for decades, and was a friend, was worth his weight in gold” to lobbyists.

Special interests can’t stand it when pesky term limits butt in to sever their cozy ties with incumbents.

The goal of the term limits movement is to cause discomfort among the ruling class in Washington, D.C. It’s clear to every American that politicians from both parties undergo a metamorphosis once elected. Rather than serve constituents, members become loyal to capitol-based donors who bundle big money for campaigns. When politicians can serve forever, re-election replaces public service as a congressman’s top priority.

It is remarkable that, instead of putting the record of Washington insiders on trial, Hill attacked the one reform poised to make a difference. He doesn’t seem to realize that Congress gave us $20 trillion in debt, a 70,000 page tax code and web of bureaucracy without any term limits in place.

Over 80 percent of Coloradans want term limits because they’ve seen that incumbents cannot be dethroned without changing the rules of the game. Whenever a legislator says “elections are term limits,” while at the same time fundraising a war chest to keep anyone from running against them, they insult voters’ intelligence.

Despite Senator Hill’s penchant for ignoring his own voters, the movement to fix Congress isn’t going away in Colorado. A group of Republican and Democratic legislators in Denver has vowed that they will listen to the voters and keep pushing for term limits.

On the Republican side, they’re led by conservative State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg. On the Democratic side, by progressive Representative Jonathan Singer. This coalition proves that term limits is a bipartisan issue and here to stay.

Nick Tomboulides is the Executive Director of U.S. Term Limits

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