Becoming a career politician could soon be a thing of the past here in Pennsylvania.
“Serving in public office was always meant to be a temporary service for a season, and then members would return back home to live under the laws that they passed," said Rep. Andrew Lewis.
Rep. Lewis hopes to bring that back.
The freshman republican lawmaker introduced a bill on Tuesday that would create a 12 consecutive-year term limit for members of the Pennsylvania legislature.
That would be six consecutive terms for the house, and three for the senate.
Lewis says fresh perspectives are key to good laws, and says those who are out of touch with the private sector for too long may lack innovation.
“If you have term limited members and new members coming in, you’re going to have a constant rotation of new ideas coming in. If someone was elected in 1974, the perspective they brought in from the private sector was very different then than it is now,” said Lewis.
But Rep. Mike Sturla says it’s exactly the opposite.
“It’s always great to have fresh new ideas, but I’ve often said some of those fresh new ideas are something we tried 20 years ago that didn’t work,” said Rep. Sturla.
He says during his 29 years serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, he has made a conscious effort to stay in touch with the community and bring new ideas to the table, adding that experience, in any job, can only make you better.
“I mean, do you do that with your heart doctor, you go, ‘You know what? I know you’ve been a really top notch heart surgeon, but you’ve been doing it for ten years. Time to move on to something else.’ There’s something to be said for experience,” said Sturla.
Sturla also says it’s up to the public to elect who they want to represent them, and if they continue to choose the same person term after term, it means that person is doing something right.
And he says he plans to continue as long as things stay that way.
“The day that I wake up and say, ‘I’m tired of doing this, I don’t want to do this anymore,’ or the voters say to me, ‘Sorry, we don’t want you doing it anymore,’ I’ll stop. But as long as I think I’m being successful and getting things done for my constituents, I’ll keep trying,” said Sturla.
The bill must pass the house and senate in two consecutive sessions, and then would be put to a state referendum question.
If passed, the earliest we would see this is 2022.