Vote puts end to term limits issue

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 5, 1999

Statewide and locally, voters rejected the notion Tuesday of limiting state legislators to two consecutive terms in office.

Dr. Randy Russell of Mississippi Citizens for Legislative Term Limits authored the initiative and predicted a close vote on the initiative that would have first impacted legislative terms in the year 2007.

Now that Initiative No. 9 has been voted down, the Mississippi Citizens for Legislative Term Limits will be dissolved, Russell said Wednesday.

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&uot;We’re dissolving this week,&uot; he said. &uot;I don’t see another term limits initiative coming up in Mississippi.&uot;

While 21 other states have passed term limit proposals, Russell said Mississippians simply didn’t want it.

&uot;There’s a little different tack on politics in Mississippi,&uot; Russell said. &uot;Groups that didn’t want it to change great influenced the outcome.&uot;

Phillip West, state representative for District 94, said Mississippians have made a clear statement on term limits.

&uot;I really think Mississippi sent a message twice that they do not want to give away their fundamental, constitutional right to decide who is elected and for how long,&uot; West said. &uot;It is a basic principal that is too important to give away.&uot;

Surveys prior to the term limits campaign indicated stronger public sentiment for term limits in Mississippi, Russell said, or the group wouldn’t have pursued it. &uot;Surveys we’d seen before we filed the term limits initiative said over 60 percent of Mississippians were for term limits.&uot;

Mississippi is traditional and doesn’t take easily to change, he said. &uot;There were a lot of different power bases involved in it,&uot; he said. &uot;Plus, the economy is good and people tend to vote for change when times are bad.&uot;