Oklahoma was one of the earliest bastions of term limits – boasting the first successful statewide initiative to limit state legislators’ terms – and in light of experience term limits have only grown more popular there.
Since that 1990 initiative there have been others, notably a 2010 vote to limit the governor to a lifetime 8-year limit. This legislatively-referred referendum also imposed an 8-year limit on the lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor and inspector, state treasurer, labor commissioner, insurance commissioner and state schools superintendent. It won by 70%.
But Oklahoma citizens aren’t done yet. A new effort, launched by activist Bob Dani, would limit the terms of the mayor and city council of Oklahoma’s largest city to eight years in office.
The effort needs 6,000 signatures of Oklahoma City voters to place the idea on the March 4 citywide ballot. Signature collection is under way and Dani reports the campaign is on schedule in spite the winter weather. The effort is a mix of volunteer and professional signature collectors, so supporters are encouraged to either get out on the streets with their clipboards or make a financial contribution to the campaign. The end result will be the same.
The voters will do the rest. If Oklahoma’s history, current polling and the experience of other municipalities across the country are any indication, victory is nearly certain if the will exists to get the proposal to the ballot. Please help.
Oklahoma City would be joining a growing club of term limited cities across the country. Today, only about 9% of America’s municipalities are term limited, according to my latest copy the League of Cities Municipal Handbook. But among larger cities, where the need for term limits is greatest, the reform has been adopted at a much faster rate. Nine of the largest 10 cities in the United States are term limited, along with about 51 percent of cities with a 250,000+ population.
Oklahoma City fits the bill. With a population of 600,000, the government of Oklahoma City wields considerable power and resources and the influence of special interests in Oklahoma’s capitol city are intense.
“Just like the Mayor says, Oklahoma City is always striving to be a ‘Big League City’,” says Dani, the moderator of the weekly political forum known as the High Noon Club. “These limits will put a stop to career politicians. All citizens will benefit from more choices, new faces, new ideas, new perspectives, and new solutions to old problems."
He is right – and there is no question it can be done. But the clock is ticking. To sign the petition and help collect signatures from others, please contact OKC Term Limits Now! Chairman Bob Dani at (405) 990-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To make a donation in support of our effort, go here. Follow the effort on Facebook.