Should Gabriel Gomez win the June 25 Senate contest, I hope he reneges on his vow to limit his term in office. Term limits may make for good campaign fodder, feeding into voter anger about “career politicians” captured by the dreaded D.C. Beltway, but they make for bad public policy. Massachusetts has a reputation for having an outsized impact on national politics. A Bay State senator planning to walk away from the job in a few years would undercut that, hurting his constituents and hurting the Commonwealth.
Granted, Gomez is having some fun. At their first debate, the Republican called Representative Ed Markey a “poster boy for term limits,” a line that’s gotten some traction — and one can understand why. First elected in 1976 at the tender age of 30, Markey, now 66, has spent 36-plus years in Congress — almost an entire lifetime of employment. That pales compared with, say, Michigan Representative John Dingell (57 years and counting), but it’s still good enough to make Markey the second-longest-serving member of Congress from New England. (Vermont’s Senator Patrick Leahy has him beat by a year.)