Second District congressional candidate Scott Morgan today endorsed a six-term, 12-year limit on the time a person could serve in the U.S. Congress.
During an interview, Morgan said he reluctantly decided to support a limit because it was "the only way to ensure badly-needed reform in Congress."
Morgan, a Lawrence Republican, is trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Jim Slattery, a Topeka Democrat, who is seeking re-election to his fifth consecutive term.
A spokeswoman for Slattery said today that the congressman opposes caps on terms for several reasons.
"The congressman believes people should elect whomever they want to represent them," Nancy Malir, Slattery's press secretary, said from Washington, D.C.
Caps would cut Kansas delegation's power because lawmakers from small states such as Kansas rely on seniority rather than sheer numbers to influence legislation, she said.
MALIR ALSO said Slattery believes that if term limitations were imposed on Congress, the big winners would be career Washington bureaucrats.
A cap on terms should be "grandfathered," meaning it wouldn't apply to current members of Congress, Morgan said.
Morgan said incumbents in the U.S. House are so rarely defeated that Congress was run by professional politicians instead of citizen legislators.
"The British House of Lords has a higher turnover, and you have to die to get out of there," he said. "Implementing term limitations not only makes good sense, it makes good government."
In a backhanded criticism of Slattery, Morgan said some members of Congress "even refused to return home and face either voters or challengers."
Three TV debates between Morgan and Slattery will be shown this week. KTWU will air a debate Thursday night. KTKA and WIBW will present debates Sunday.
MORGAN SAID his campaign was disadvantaged because of Slattery's free government mailing privileges and contributions from special interest political action committees.
"The conservative side of me likes to be able to vote for whomever I want," Morgan said. "But Congress has thrown up so many roadblocks that real change won't occur until a term limitation is enacted."
Morgan claimed Slattery talks about reforming Congress, but "his actions tell a different story. In short, he goes through the motions but produces very little."
He asserted that Slattery has pledged to support campaign finance reform but accepts more than 70 percent of his campaign funds from PACs.
"He says he is for reducing Congress' free mail but votes for a mail limit so high that only a handful of congressmen have to cut back," he said.