Those of you who are readers of the Montgomery County Sentinel are likely well aware on the evening of September 19 the Sentinel conducted a debate with local attorneys Robin Ficker providing the arguments for term limits on members of the County Council and the County Executive and Paul Bessel arguing against the need for such term limits.
During the debate, Mr. Ficker argued term limits encourages more individuals to run for office in that term limits result in more open seats. By not facing incumbents who have reached their term limit, Mr. Ficker argues, the likelihood of winning a seat increases and makes running for office more attractive.
Mr. Bessel countered this claim by pointing to a litany of studies and data that demonstrate that this assumption is clearly not the case. Moreover, Mr. Bessel went on to state quite emphatically that, if increasing the numbers of individuals who run for office is a legitimate goal of term limits, then it can more effectively be accomplished, not with term limits, but with public funding of elections which makes running for office more affordable.
Regardless of which side of the term limits argument you find yourself, the issue of public funding of elections and whether it actually does impact significantly the number of individuals who may choose to run for office is an issue worthy of considering.