Hi, it’s Holly Robichaud with breaking news on term limits. Did you see what happened to Mitch McConnell today at age 81? He froze up. I don’t know what’s happening with him, but what I do know that’s happening is that we need US term limits.
If Washington insiders are not listening to voters, candidates for office sure are. This past week, six congressional candidates signed a US term limits pledge. The congressional candidates who signed are Peter Hernandez in California’s 18th District, Keith Liu in California’s 18th district, Matt Leiv in Illinois 14th District, Jeffrey Jowske in Michigan’s 9th District, Ryan McKenzie in Pennsylvania’s 7th district, and Bruce Hough in Utah’s 2nd district. More are signing daily so stay tuned.
This week in state news, we’ve had 38 candidates across the nation for the state legislature, sign the US Term limits pledge, that they will support, if elected, a resolution passed by the legislature, calling for congressional term limits. We’re gaining momentum everywhere across the country. Check it out. We’re making the news everywhere. The Florida Daily, the term limits movement is alive and politically potent. Check it out. There’s a lot happening in Rhode Island. Voting for the primaries, for the special election for Rhode Island’s First congressional district is underway.
There are 14 candidates. 7 candidates, 6 Democrats and 1 Republican have signed the US term limits pledge. This is major for US term limits that half the qualified candidates have signed our pledge. In addition to this, this open seat symbolizes why term limits is needed. In 2022, this seat drew only two candidates, the incumbent and a challenger in the general election. Among the arguments for congressional term limits is that it will make elections competitive without long-term incumbents. What we’re seeing in Rhode Island, proves our point.
Critics of term limits claim there’s no need because we already have term limits, they’re called elections. It would be great if we could just vote out an incumbent. The reality is that congressional members have an insurmountable advantage of power and money that virtually guarantees them a lifetime of re-elections. The Rhode Island special Congressional election proves our point. So does Iowa’s Chuck Grassley. Did you know that Iowa’s Chuck Grassley has consecutively served in Congress for 48 years and counting. He was first elected to Congress in 1974 when Gerald Ford was elected President. Before being elected to Congress, he served in the Iowa legislature from 1959 to 1974, before I was born. He has been in office for 64 straight years.
All right. Well, today I’m so happy to have joining us, is our president of US Term limits, Phil Blumel. He has done such a terrific job and I want to get his perspective on where term limits is going and what’s happening. Thank you for joining us today.
Sure, glad to be here.
So what made you get involved with US Term limits?
Well, it’s been a while. Pretty much as a kid, as a college student, I was a bit of a political activist in a lot of issues. And it was the time when term limits were setting the world on fire. We had state after state that were adopting them for their state legislatures and even for their congressional delegations via the initiative process. And truth is, my family is involved in this. And my wife…
It’s a family affair.
It really was, yeah. Both my parents were out petitioning on the streets and I was too. And I realized I was good at it, for one thing, and I learned the issue, and that’s the key thing that came out of this. And so talking to people about it every day on the street, and then talking to the people at US term limits which was Paul Jacob at the time, I just learned the issue and it became my key issue. And what I think really made it stick in a world where there’s so many things wrong that need to be fixed, is that each one of these term limits campaigns that we worked on, we’re successful.
So I wasn’t just a cry in the wilderness. I was out there working on the street and getting something done that was going to work. When I was collecting signatures to put term limits for the state legislature on the ballot in 1991, for instance, in 1992, it got on the ballot. And then the voters passed it with 77% of the vote. And that kept happening. And I thought to myself, “This is an issue where I can make a real difference in the world for the better. And I can see the concrete successes and benefits of what I was working on.” There’s not a whole lot of issues like that.
Where you get that immediate gratification from it. And so, having known the issue, I’ve just been working on it this whole time. And so after that, after working as a petitioner, I worked on some campaigns and eventually, I was asked to work with the national team.
Oh great. Well, you’ve done a superb job. You are the driving force behind Term Limits Day. Tell us why that’s so important and what you do about promoting Term Limits Day.
Sure. Okay. Term Limits Day is a new holiday. Anybody can start a holiday. [chuckle] And we’ve been working on this for about 4 years. And I like it because it just focuses people’s attention on it at least once a year. And if you live in an area where there’s not actually a term limits campaign going on, or some politicians are trying to overturn the term limits, or someone’s trying to terminate term limit at a local municipality or something, it’s a way that just reminds people of this policy and that these things are going on. And I think it allows them to do something to help.
And what that is, is basically showing public support for this issue. And it’s February 27th. We chose that date because that commemorates the passage of the term limits on the President in 1951. It’s a way that people and public can just show the world that they support this. Why is that important? Well, their politicians live in their neighborhoods, and the media sees it, and just reminds the politicians that we’re watching, we’re for this. And we’re not just for it in some vague way. We’re willing to take some concrete steps. We just wanna remind you that we’re for this. So when there is that campaign going on in the local municipality, or there’s something going on the state level, or on the national term limits campaign project, people know that they’re being watched, these politicians know they’re being watched.
You see a lot of momentum building for the future of term limits. Do you think it’s gonna pass? You’re gonna see that we’re gonna eventually pass it in Congress? Or is it gonna be a state convention?
Well, we’re… Our primary strategy right now, and there’s more than one, our primary strategy is to go to the states and ask them to pass a resolution, calling for a amendment writing convention under Article 5 of the Constitution, limited to the subject: Congressional term limits. And so, in getting more and more states to do that, we’re getting closer to having a convention. But we’ve never had a convention. And historically, when you’ve seen movements like this be successful, where state after state are starting to call for this, Congress steps in. And that’s… I can see the logic of that. I don’t think Congress wants state legislators writing their rules of tenure, [chuckle] which is what would happen if we had a convention. So I think that when it got to that point, we will see that Congress preempt and pass something.
So yeah, I think Congress is gonna pass term limits on itself, I really do. And I do think we’ll see it. It’s… As this project’s been going on, we get one or two states a year to pass this resolution. It’s not easy to ask politicians, “Vote for term limits,” even on somebody else, other politicians. But it’s proof of concept. We can clearly get these states to pass. And I look back to the 1990s when the strategy of passing term limits was to get state after state, not to pass a resolution for a convention, but to actually enact term limits via referendum. And the first couple of years, there was one or two states that worked, that worked. There were some states that failed because we didn’t do it right. We didn’t have the language right. We didn’t have the organization right. We’re just learning.
But once it hit, once people realized that it could be done and that we were doing it, money started flowing in, milk of politics. Money started flowing in, and people’s excitement started growing, and the volunteers came out of the woodwork. So we haven’t hit that with this convention project, but we’re gonna get there. And so I foresee, much like we saw in the ’90s with Referenda, we’ll have a couple of years where we get a few states, somewhere out there, not too far in the future is a year where we get 10 states. And when we get that, that’s when you’re gonna see this explode. That’s when it’s top of the news every day. Every newspaper, every Sunday morning talk show.
And Congress is gonna have to do something.
Everyone’s gonna have to take a stand on it. Everybody running for Congress is gonna have to say, “I’m for it,” “I’m against it.” They better say they’re for it because everybody will be watching that.
That’s right. It’s an 80% issue.
80% issue. So yeah, I believe we can do it. I think there’s… We have a strategy to do it. We have historical reasons to think it’s gonna work. We’re showing year after year, we’re getting more states to do this. And so yeah, I expect to see it. I wouldn’t be wasting my time doing it, doing… Volunteering my time for this, and I’m a volunteer… I wouldn’t be volunteering my time for this if I didn’t think we could do it.
Alright. Well I wanna thank you for all of the work that you do for US Term limits, you have done, are doing, and will do. You’ve been a great leader for all of us and I wanna thank you for joining us today on Breaking News.
Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Now it’s time for the crap politician of the week. This week, Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho makes our list. Senator Crapo was first elected to the Senate in 1998. Prior to that, he served in the Idaho legislature from 1984 to 1992, and in the US House of Representatives from 1992 until his election to the United States Senate. As you can imagine, he is no friend of Term Limits. In 2013, he was arrested for DWI, despite claiming he was an avid teetotaler. In 2018, the Daily Beast unearthed a scandal related to Crapo using a condo, failing to reimburse the owner. Based on this story, a watchdog group that campaigned for accountability, poured over Crapo’s campaign finance report. It could not find any records of the Senator reimbursing the owner for use of the apartment. So they filed the complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.
What followed was a pair of disclosures. Crapo’s campaign determined the condo was owned by a limited liability company, which unlike an individual, cannot make an in-kind contribution to a campaign. So the Crapo team amended its campaign finance report, paying the LLC $100 each time it used the unit. The next time you get a $100 night reservation at the Capitol Hill Hotel, let me know.
So what do you think is the number one reason for Congressional Term Limits? Please comment below and share this on social media. We wanna hear from you.
As we have seen in this episode, Term Limits is on the move. We’re gaining support all across the nation and in congressional races. We are the key issue. We can make Term Limits a reality, but we need your help. Please go to termlimits.org and get involved today. And be sure to share this program with your friends every week. This is Holly Robichaud, we’ll see you next week.