Term Limits and Talented Legislators

The thoughtful opinion-page treatise ``Term Limits Would Throw Out the Able With the Inept,'' Jan. 3, states that some talented senators and representatives would be removed by any term limits. The author lists eight senators and 10 representatives whose experience is of great value to the American political system. I would suggest that each of these individuals could run for other public office if term limits cut short their service. Or they might be appointed to a president's cabinet or an office at the state level. In short, there is no reason to lose talent if term limitations become a reality.

It is interesting to note that the author's list consists entirely of men. One of the main reasons that term limits might make sense is to attract fresher thinking and creative talents from women, and other groups who are now underrepresented in Congress.

George A. Dean, Southport, Conn.

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To read the article, you might think that Congress is doing a good job. But come on! In the 20th century we can't run a banking system? Maybe there's just a lack of new ideas, or no reason to risk espousing them. This is where term limits could help. By restoring contested elections, limits can force candidates to campaign on the issues. The real goal for election reform should be outlawing money contributions to candidates. But restoring competitive elections by eliminating permanent incumbents will give the electorate an opportunity to hear and deal with that, too, and is probably the only chance to promote laws not favorable to incumbents.

Carl Loeber, San Jose, Calif.

I disagree with the author's conclusions. Can you imagine a better job than one in which you can set your own salary regardless of your performance or your employer's wishes, set your own pension, and establish your own rules of conduct? It's no wonder our congressmen like it, and they want to keep it. Term limitations would eliminate the concern about a lifetime self-interested career, and let our legislators honestly perform their job - serving the interests of the citizens of the nation.

Harry E. Kirschner, Cincinnati

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