Referendum A assures experience, choice |

Referendum A assures experience, choice

Dear Editor,

We are fortunate to have a district attorney (DA) who recently tried a very important case and obtained a conviction against the defendant. Instead of delegating it to someone else, he took the lead and threw his heart and soul into the prosecution. Instead of sitting back knowing his last term is drawing to a close, how fortunate we are to have an experienced and proactive DA who will continue to work hard during his last term of service.

You should be saying, “Why is this the last term?” The explanation: term limits for DAs. Term limits prescribe a DA’s time in office to two four-year terms (a total of eight years). This “solution” for unseating idle incumbents is no solution at all.

There are two major problems with terms limits for DAs. The first is related to experience. One needs experience not only to prosecute significant criminal cases but also administrate an office of personnel. An office where experience counts is limited by a policy, which essentially says, “The life expectancy of an able-bodied DA is eight years. After that, he or she has become an idle incumbent public servant who should step aside for someone new.”

The second problem with term limitations for DAs, and to me the most significant, is the notion that the average voter in this judicial district (consisting of Garfield, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco counties) cannot choose for himself or herself the candidate best suited to hold the office. Term limits as applied to DAs limits the choices of the electorate. Is this not contrary to many of our democratic ideals? If we are to have all the choices and those choices consist of the most experienced candidates, then term limits as applied to DAs should be eradicated. Otherwise, the problems continue: We lose valuable experience in a very important public office, and we lose a choice.

Whether you support an incumbent DA is your choice. Regardless of your choice of a party – Republican or Democrat, the key is you have a choice. However, term limitations do not even give you that. It says you don’t have a choice to keep a DA with eight years in the office. This is a problem. The solution, vote “yes” for Referendum A which does away with term limits for DAs and allows you to make an intelligent choice for experience where experience counts.

Jeff Cheney


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