The power of entrenched incumbency
As a resident of Wilsonville since before Wilsonville was a city, I've observed all of our mayors and councilors. Almost all of them have done a remarkable job in making Wilsonville the special place it is today. Most of them have served eight years or less, but we currently have some who have been there 20 years or more. While I thank them for their contributions, isn't it time to give new people with fresh ideas an opportunity to serve?
It is commonly accepted that incumbents are more difficult to remove from office, including those who were appointed to positions. People have a tendency to vote for those they recognize. Businesses tend to support those likely to continue to benefit their interests.
Unfortunately, for most of the last 20 years, the practice of appointing in your own image has been followed by our City Council so that appointees run as incumbents. This method is how a few people control the City Council regardless of elections. Candidates for boards and commissions who are perfectly qualified are not appointed unless they agree with the current council majority.
The outcome of "group think" and the mayor controlling all appointments is a lack of an even playing field for people who want to gain experience in local government before running for office. What is sad is that we get little diversity of thought and therefore Wilsonville citizens lose a chance for new ideas and solutions.
At the end of April, we will receive our ballots for the May 19 primary election. On the ballot will be Measure 3-556 giving citizens an opportunity to vote for term limits. Term limits would allow the Wilsonville mayor and councilors to serve, whether elected or appointed, for 12 years in any 20-year period. Most cities around us have 8 or 12-year term limits.
Term limits actually increase voter choice by making elections more competitive and encouraging more candidates to run. New office holders bring a fresh perspective and are not necessarily wedded to the status quo. They have an opportunity to find new solutions and are more attuned to the citizenry.
Over 3,000 people signed a petition to put term limits on the ballot. Please join the huge number of citizens who will be voting "yes" on Measure 3-556 giving us term limits.
Doris Wehler is a Wilsonville resident.
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