Following the lead attack by Rep. W. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville), Sen. Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) has launched the second salvo against Florida’s voter-initiated and -approved 8-year term limits law.
Last week, Grimsley introduced a slightly different Senate version of Perry’s bill to weaken the legislative term limits from eight to 12 years. Surely she recalls the bill passing in 1992 with 77 percent of the vote. Surely she has done sufficient homework to find recent polling showing that Floridians’ love of term limits is undimmed. Surely, she has seen the negative reaction Rep. Perry has received from the public.
But there is a hubris that comes from holding office too long that blinds politicians. Legislators feel that they are irreplaceable and hence are disdainful of the democratic tradition of rotation. Sen. Grimsley served eight years in the House and now wants an additional 12 years in the Senate. Oh, and she’d like a longer term so she doesn’t have to face the voters as often.
It is pretty clear why. Voters are disgusted with this kind of self-serving behavior and she doesn’t want to hear it. She hears the higher call of her career and of the special interests that further it.
Sen. Grimsley has figured out the professional politicians’ path to career success. Once in power, keeping it is a simple process. It requires little more than taking out one’s Rolodex, reassuring the special interests that you’re still on board and accepting their checks. Nearly all PAC money goes to the incumbents. The powers of the incumbency and its daunting purse chases away meaningful competition. She doesn’t want to be bothered with the rubes of her district and their shabby interests.
In 2005-06, when self-interested politicians last made a serious attempt to ditch our 8-year term limits, there was such an outcry the anti-term limits amendment bill was repealed shortly after it passed. Sen. Grimsley, Rep. Keith Perry and the rest of the legislature need to hear from us right now.
Check out Sunday’s op-ed by Nick Tomboulides in Highland Today — Sen. Grimsley’s hometown paper — where he takes her to task for her arrogance. For regular updates, be sure also to LIKE the Save Florida Term Limits Facebook page.