Elective Office


Jan 29, 2005
One of the ambitious proposals put forth by former Vice-President Al Gore was the "re-invention" of government. While the Clinton Administration may have made some progress towards promoting greater efficiency, the result was that government actually grew in size mainly because of bureaucratic self-perpetuation. No one in the United States would disagree that the reduction of government waste should be given top priority. However, before tackling such a problem, one must examine the root causes and not merely treat the symptoms.

When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution, they deliberately left out the "structural path" of elective office but were very clear on names of offices, branches of government, duties of elected officials etcetera. However, what they failed to foresee was the need for elective offices to follow a required path. For example, take the leader of the executive branch; if a person wants to be elected president of the United States, they must first serve as mayor of a city, commissioner of a county and then governor of a state. The two-term limit (eight years) should also be extended to include these lower chief executives as well.

The legislative branch should have a similar path. If one wants to be elected United States senator, they must first serve as a U.S. congressperson from that state. Before serving as a congressperson, they must serve as a councilperson of a city, representative of a state and then as a state senator. The two-term limit should apply here as well.

As for the judicial branch, a United States supreme court justice must serve as a municipal court judge of a city, common pleas court judge of a county, circuit court or district court judge of a state, appeals court judge and state supreme court judge. The two-term limit would apply here also.

Furthermore, the education of these candidates to-be should entail the equivalent of earning a bachelors degree, masters degree and a doctorate in philosophy degree. These degrees must be earned prior to running for elective office. Besides providing a focused academic training it will promote a greater maturity in our candidates before they experience the rigors of their first elective office.

Few could doubt that this path would provide good practical training for those seeking higher office while at the same time establishing a track record that voters could more easily analyze and understand. The two-term limit would allow greater participation because the office would be wide open every eight years. This would force the elected official to properly execute his/her duties and not be as influenced by the various special interest groups.

Government today is often seen as part of the problem rather than a solution to the problem. Perhaps if the United States would consider a path of development for its "philosopher kings" public trust would return and something may actually get done.