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Cook: Term Limits Needed For Elected Officials

Huntington town councilman promises to push for reforms to give others chance to serve.

Dear Editor,

Last week Suffolk County's District Attorney, Sheriff, and County Clerk filed a lawsuit against the County challenging the 12-year term limit the voters ratified. They say it doesn't apply to them because their positions are defined by the New York State Constitution and Suffolk County cannot limit their terms in office.

Whether or not the lawsuit has legal merit, the bigger point is that the voters clearly wanted term limits for elected officials and that decision should not be overturned. It went to a referendum because it was an important issue, and the voters should have, and did have, what they thought was the final say. To negate the overwhelming decision of the County's taxpaying voters would show complete disregard for the electoral system and merely demonstrate that the feeling that they had when they voted on this legislation was correct -- that the longer career politicians hold a position, the more entitled they feel to keep that job, and keep anyone with new ideas out of their club.

The argument that if the voters wanted someone out of office they could simply vote them out doesn't hold water, especially if the people in those positions can get the voters' decision overturned., as could happen in this case. Our forefathers did not envision the kind of career politician we have now. They were people who ran their own businesses, and served their community for a specific time, then went back to their ordinary lives.

I am a staunch supporter of term limit; that is why it was one of my campaign issues. Some of our elected officials, at all levels of government, have held office for more than 20 years.  Technology, jobs, lifestyles, and the economy have changed dramatically during that time, yet we still have the same people running our towns, counties, state, and federal offices that were there in the 1990s. This is not progress. If an eight year term limit is acceptable for the President of the United States, how is it not acceptable for our local officials?

I believe that the terms of elected officials should be limited, and I hope to make that a reality in Huntington during my term as town councilman.  I would like to hear what the voters have to say regarding this issue, please email me at ecook@huntingtonny.gov.  I have personal knowledge of how hard it is for someone new to get elected, no matter how competent or talented they may be, and I think anyone who wants to serve should have a chance to attain that goal. Mandating term limits will at least give the political parties a reason to look at these people and help them with the process.

Sincerely,

Eugene Cook

Huntington Town Councilman

Trish February 29, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Completely agree!!
Linda Otta February 29, 2012 at 01:37 PM
voting them out is 'term limits'??? It is not! I fully support Mr Cooks proposal for term limits. The entire political farce on on Long Island especially Suffolk County is beyond corrupt and broken! RINO's, DINO's, favors, paybacks and courts that battle out a final count? Sorry. It's broken. Term limits please! We need people who want to serve not career politicians that talk out of both sides of their faces just to get re-elected.
Urban February 29, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Have the Presidents since the 22nd Ammendment served better than those before it? A legislature or board filled with lame ducks could be a disaster. Keep elected officials accountable for the next election and let the voters decide.
Jack Zucker March 01, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Currently the people have the final say. With term limits, the power goes back to the party bosses in smoke filled rooms.
Babaloo March 04, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Don't know what Mr. Cook is talking about. His party defeated two sitting incumbents in the last two town board elections. If you're doing your job, then you should keep it. If not... . I would rather see campaign finance reform as that is the area where incumbents get their edge.

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