Va. Legislators Debate Between Seniority Versus Term Limits

November’s upcoming election has highlighted the debate over seniority versus new blood in Congress.

Virginia’s congressional delegation will lose 69 years due to the retirements of the delegation’s dean Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-10th) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th), as well as Eric Cantor’s unexpected loss to Dave Brat, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

With every House seat up for election in November, many candidates are incorporating term limits into their campaigns. At the most basic level, term limits provide opportunities for new legislators to enter the foray with a fresh approach. Some candidates also argue that they prevent “crony relationships” with other legislators.

Dave Brat, the Republican candidate for the 7th District House seat, has made it clear that he views the position as a public service. Politicians should fulfill their duties serving the country and then return to their normal lives.

“Our Founders wanted to discourage elected leaders from getting too enamored with the trappings of power in Washington and losing touch with those they represented back home,” Brat said in an email.

Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate running against first-term Senator Mark Warner (D), has promised that he would only serve two terms if elected.

Warner, on the other hand, is campaigning on the premise that Virginia needs seniority in Congress in order to effectively pass legislation. He and other candidates against term limits argue that legislators need continuity and longevity in their terms; otherwise, they cannot support legislation through the entire process.

“Senator Warner makes his decisions based on what is best for Virginia, and running for re-election is no different,” said Warner’s spokesman David Turner.

Virginia currently has two first-term senators: Warner, elected in 2008, and Timothy M. Kaine (D), elected in 2012.If Warner is not re-elected, Virginia will fall to the lowest seniority in the Senate.

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