Virginia Politics: Rasoul vows to limit terms
Story by Chris Graham
Bob Goodlatte said in 1992 during his first campaign for the Sixth District seat in the U.S. Congress that he would limit his time in Congress to six two-year terms. His ’08 run is for term #9, and though Goodlatte has been silent as to the broken promise, Democrats haven’t held him accountable in failing to run candidates against him the past two election cycles.
The ’08 cycle is different, though. Sam Rasoul is giving voters in the Sixth a choice, and part of his approach should sound familiar considering the promises of the past two men to hold the seat.
“Critical reform is needed if we are ever going to get the support we need from Washington. Not only is that why I’m running for Congress, it’s also why I have pledged to serve only five terms as a congressman,” said Rasoul, repeating a pledge made by Goodlatte’s predecessor in the Sixth District seat, Democrat Jim Olin, who served in Congress from 1983 to 1993.
Rasoul said he has heard from a strong segment of voters, Democrats and interesting a growing number of Republicans, who have expressed displeasure with Goodlatte’s broken promise. Which is why Rasoul is taking his pledge one step further. “One of the first bills I will introduce when I am elected to Congress will be one that sets strict term limits on members of both Houses,” Rasoul said.
“For more than a century and half, turn over in Congress had been well over 50 percent. In fact, it’s only been in the last few decades that incumbency rates have skyrocketed into the 90s,” Rasoul said. “The reason is simple – over their long careers many incumbents have fostered ties with special interests that help fund their campaigns and give them name recognition that no challenger could ever hope to attain. Simple fairness in our democratic system is called for if we are to return to a true system of citizen legislators free of influence peddlers who drown out the needs of everyday citizens,” Rasoul said.
“Our country is at a crossroads,” Rasoul said. “If we continue down the path we are on, the voice of everyday Americans will continue to diminish as it faces an increasing onslaught of well-funded special interests working only for their own good. But we could choose another path. We could choose to throw the bums out, as the saying goes, by implementing fair and ethical reforms to the way our government does business. I, for one, think that we can win in against the billions spent by special interests. My pledge to serve only five terms comes from my belief that it is time for a new voice in Congress, a voice that is accountable only to the people of this district. I hope you’ll join me in making this a reality,” Rasoul said.