OKLAHOMA CITY - When Oklahoma voters go to the polls to vote for governor in November 2002 they'll also have the opportunity to expand the state's term limit law if one elected official has his way. State Senator Glenn Coffee (R-OKC) plans to file a resolution during the next legislative session asking the voters to approve the expansion of term limits to all statewide elected officials and county officers. Currently, only state legislators and the governor fall under term limits.
"The people of Oklahoma benefit when their elected officials are reminded that we live in a democracy where the people have the power," said Coffee. "Too often longtime elected officials begin to believe that the office is theirs, not the people's. I want to ensure that elected offices always belong to the people."
Under Coffee's proposal the legislature and the governor will remain under their current limits of 12-years and eight-years respectively. Other statewide and county elected offices would fall under the same 12-year limits seen in the legislature.
Coffee hopes his proposal will receive broad bipartisan support in both chambers.
"I was absolutely surprised when the current Speaker of the House came out against legislative term limits," said Coffee. "For the leader of the House to ignore the overwhelming will of Oklahoma voters struck me as odd. It is another example of the legislative leadership being out of touch with the needs of Oklahomans outside of the capitol building. That's the mentality Oklahomans want broken. I am sure that the rank and file members will listen to their constituents over the desires of career politicians."
Coffee believes his proposal is the next logical step in the process of returning the government to the people.
"The governor is term limited, as are legislators," said Coffee. "Now it is time to expand this policy to include other elected officials. It's all about bringing government closer to the people that's what term limits do."