Professor Robert C. Smith: Term Limits 'Contrary to Democracy'

Tuesday, June 07, 2016
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA RECORD -- Years ago, Robert C. Smith, a political science professor at San Francisco State University, testified before the California State Assembly as it first considered term limits for legislators, which became effective in 1990. Term limit rules have been amended several times since then, most recently in 2012 with Proposition 28. Smith said it was a bad idea in the 1980s, and he still maintains that term limits, which put the District 11 seat up for grabs in November, are contrary to democracy. Despite his overall negative view of term limits, Smith concedes that the requirement has some merit. Without term limits, there likely would be fewer women and minorities serving in the California State Assembly, he said. Additionally, the restrictions prevent anyone from becoming so entrenched that their influence could be used for personal gain rather than the best interests of the people they represent, Smith said.