Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said today that a Lincoln charter amendment to impose Mayoral term limits “is not a term limits proposal. It is a limit Chris Beutler proposal.” She encouraged Lincoln voters to reject the proposal at a press conference where she was joined by Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and Nebraska League of Municipalities Executive Director Lynn Rex.
“First and foremost, it is fundamentally unfair to change the rules during an election cycle,” said Rex. “Secondly this is partisan politics at it’s worst. I’ve said for some time that the two parties deserve each other. The voters don’t. We wonder why so few voters, choose to vote. This is the kind of thing that alienates citizens from wanting to be involved in government.”
“This proposal is a slick way to kick Mayor Beutler out of office. It would deny him the opportunity to run for re-election this spring,” Stothert said. “Term limits should be directed at the office, not the current office holder. Lincoln voters should not be fooled, and I don’t think they will be.”
“What makes the situation worse is that this partisan political effort is being copied,” Beutler said. “Mayor Stothert’s political opponents are publicly talking about a similar strategy in Omaha to prevent her from running for a third term.”
“The League of Municipalities Executive Board, 15 members, elected by our membership annually, voted on September 20th to oppose this initiative effort,” said Rex. “The League of Municipalities does not support or endorse candidates, ever. This is about a policy that concerns cities and villages across the state.”
“Mayor Stothert and I stand here today as Mayors of successful cities because we seek to create bi-partisan consensus and find solutions that respect each other’s point of view,” Beutler continued. “Now partisanship on term limits threatens to undermine our success. Rather than working together to continue our cities’ achievements, we will instead descend into the gridlock and conflict that prevents continued progress.”
“We need only to look at Washington DC to see what the consequences may be: hyper-partisan, gotcha politics and a total lack of civility and respect,” Beutler said.
Stothert pointed out that term limits for the Legislature approved by Nebraska voters 18 years ago were not retroactive. “At that time, prior legislative service was excluded, and years went by until the limits took effect, so everyone would be treated fairly. That’s what is missing here.”
“Those advocating for this proposal are hiding behind the concept of term limits to specifically and directly target a current elected official. That is wrong,” Stothert said.
“If Lincoln, Omaha, or any other Nebraska community wants term limits, then let’s take the time to do it right. Let’s put together a proposal that focuses on good policy, not beating a political opponent at all costs,” Beutler said.
“The proposal aimed at my candidacy was slapped together at the last minute. It’s a poorly thought out idea that changes the rules in the middle of the game. That’s not the Lincoln way. That’s not the Omaha way. That’s not the Nebraska way,” Beutler concluded.