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Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison backs term limits for Senate

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/legislature/stories/DN-hutchison_12tex.ART.State.Edition1.4b6ded7.html Thursday, November 12,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 12, 2009

      Thursday, November 12, 2009
      Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison backs term limits for Senate

      12:00 AM CST on Thursday, November 12, 2009
      By TODD J. GILLMAN / The Dallas Morning News
      WASHINGTON – Three-term Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has thrown her support behind a constitutional amendment that would cap Senate service at two terms.

      The stance echoes her argument that Texas governors should also face term limits and that Gov. Rick Perry, in particular, has served too long already. But it contradicts her own career.

      When she won the Senate seat in a special election in 1993, she pledged not to seek more than two six-year terms. She argued in 2006, however, that it made no sense for Texas to voluntarily give up the seniority and influence she had acquired.

      "[She] did not believe that Texas should unilaterally disarm," said spokesman Jeff Sadosky.

      Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., filed the term-limit amendment Monday. Two other GOP senators are co-sponsors: Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who is seeking a second term next year, and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is retiring next year to fulfill a two-term pledge. (Coburn gave up a House seat in 2000 after three terms, as he had promised six years earlier.)

      "Sen. Hutchison has fought for term limits throughout her career, and was proud to support Sen. DeMint's efforts," said Sadosky.

      The move drew snickers from the Perry camp.

      "The senator has no credibility on the issue of terms limits, considering she broke her own promise to serve only two terms and then ran for a third," said Perry spokesman Mark Miner.

      The amendment would limit House members to three two-year terms. Passage requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, and ratification by three-fourths of the states, and is very unlikely.

      Governors serve four-year terms in Texas. Perry has held the office nearly nine years, the longest of any Texas governor.

      Hutchison said this summer that she would quit by next month, to focus on challenging Perry.

      Critics of legislative term limits argue that it purges experience and discourages long-term thinking. But, DeMint argued: "Americans know real change in Washington will never happen until we end the era of permanent politicians."
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