Caddo Parish Commission Term Limits Proposition
The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors met in regular session on Wednesday, September 25, 2013. Included on the agenda was discussion of the Caddo Parish Commission resolution to extend the number of consecutive terms that a Parish Commissioner can serve. This proposition will appear on the October 19th ballot in Caddo Parish. The Chamber Board of Directors unanimously agreed that this proposition should be OPPOSED and urged Caddo voters to vote “No”.
The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce has held a long-standing position in support of term limits for all elected officials. We have supported term limit propositions in previous elections for local and statewide elected officials. The October 19th proposition “limits” consecutive terms to five consecutive terms. What voters may not realize is that the existing law in the Caddo Parish Home Rule Charter currently already limits consecutive terms to THREE consecutive terms; therefore, the proposition before voters on October 19th in actuality is contrary to term limits. It, in fact, would allow Caddo Parish Commissioners to serve in office LONGER than the length they can currently serve. If passed, the law would allow a parish commissioner to serve 20 years (five consecutive four-year terms) instead of the current term limits of 12 years (three consecutive four year terms).
We recognize that voters do have the opportunity to vote again on their Parish Commissioners every four years; however, in today’s political climate incumbents have a distinct advantage over those candidates who choose to challenge an incumbent. It is more difficult and more expensive for challengers to earn the name recognition that existing elected officials already enjoy. Public service is intended to be an opportunity for citizens to serve their community for a limited period of time. We do not believe that public service, as an elected official, is meant to be a lifetime career. We appreciate those who give of themselves in public service and commend those who currently serve yet we believe the current term limits are sufficient.
We are pleased that the voters of Caddo Parish previously approved limiting the number of consecutive terms that a parish commissioner can serve to three consecutive four-year terms. The proposed language is misleading to voters who are not aware that we already have existing term limits and the proposition, if passed, lengthens the amount of time that an elected commissioner might serve.
For these reasons, the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce seeks to inform our members and the public on this issue. We urge voters to go to the polls and defeat the proposed amendment to the Caddo Parish Home Rule Charter; thereby keeping Caddo Parish Commission term limits to THREE consecutive terms (not FIVE consecutive terms).
We encourage Caddo voters to take the time to go vote and vote “No”. Early voting takes place Saturday, October 5th through Saturday, October 12th at the Caddo Parish Registrar of Voters Office at 525 Marshall Street in Downtown Shreveport (8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.). Caddo Parish election day is Saturday, October 19th.
Murray W. Viser
Chairman of the Board
Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce