AUSTIN (KXAN) — After 12 legislative sessions as an advocate for the disabled, it is safe to say Jennifer McPhail knows how to lobby Texas lawmakers. The
ADAPT volunteer has spent countless hours maneuvering her electric wheelchair up and down the halls of the State Capitol.
"I think there's not a magic number,” McPhail said when asked about how long elected officials should serve. “I think that, if you have the right mindset, you can do a lot of really good things."
But how long is too long when it comes to state elected officials? They decide what happens to your taxes, your health care and your child's education. In Texas, they can also keep making those decisions over and over, because there are no term limits.
Term limits were never really an issue in the beginning. Up until voters approved the state’s current constitution in 1876, no one had served more than two two-year terms as governor, including Sam Houston. In fact, governors ended up only serving a maximum of two terms into the 1950s.
The Reconstruction constitution of 1869 did away with term limits. Voters amended the current constitution in the 1970s to increase a governor’s term to four years. That also goes for the office of lieutenant governor.
Last year, during his failed run for U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst promised to serve no more than two terms if elected to that seat. Now he is hoping for a fourth term as the state’s second in command.
"Right now, I've got a lot of unfinished work,” Dewhurst said. “I know that as the only traditional business person elected statewide out of 29 elected officials that it's hard to get to the top. It's hard to get to No.1, but it's harder to stay No.1. I'm determined to keep Texas No. 1."