Home Virginia Politics House Democrats Push to Allow Virginia Governors Two Terms in a Row

House Democrats Push to Allow Virginia Governors Two Terms in a Row


Virginia State CapitalIf a two-term executive is good for America, why is it bad for Virginia? House Democrats want to tear down that wall:

The commonwealth’s chief executive cannot serve two consecutive terms, something governors can do anywhere else in the country. (Virginia governors may serve a second term, but not two in a row.)

That makes the governor “a lame duck the minute he takes his hand off the bible,” said Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington). That also leads governors to “kick the can down the road” on tough problems that require long-term planning, such as transportation, Brink said.

So Brink is calling for a change to the state Constitution to allow two consecutive terms. He appeared at a news conference in Richmond on Monday along with other members of the House Democratic Caucus, including House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) and Caucus Chairman Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax).

This would seem to be on the list of Great Ideas Virginia Republicans Will Never Let Pass. “Traditionally, Virginia Republicans have been dead set against this, not because it might or might not promote greater accountability, but because Virginia Republicans favor a weak Governor and a weak government in Richmond,” says former Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Peter Rousselot. “The one-term limit promotes weaker government in general, and that’s what Virginia Republicans are really after.” And when people like House Speaker William Howell have been in Richmond for literally decades, do you really think he’s going to give up even a fraction of his advantage in experience, long-term relationships & institutional inertia?

My only objection to the effort would be blaming one-term governors for our problems in Richmond. Tim Kaine couldn’t solve problems not because he was kicking the can down the road – he was roadblocked by anti-tax Republicans. Gov. Bob McDonnell has failed to solve our transportation funding issues because he’s more beholden to Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge than he is to Virginia families. As long as Virginia’s Republican Party remains opposed to new revenue in all forms (as well as opposed to civil rights for all Virginians), Virginia’s status as one of the best places in America to live, learn, work & play will be at risk.


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