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Wagner, Martin sign term-limits pledge, limiting U.S. House tenure

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 15, 2011 - Both Republican congressional candidates in the region's 2nd District -- Ann Wagner and Ed Martin -- have announced that, if either is elected to the 2nd District, he or she will serve only three terms -- six years, in total.

Both have signed the pledge sought by the national group, U.S. Term Limits, which has been campaigning for terms limits for Congress and state legislatures for two decades The group had been active in the effort that led to Missouri voters approving legislative term limits in 1992.

So far, the group has been unable to get in place congressional term limits -- which would require a constitutional amendment.

Missouri voters did approve congressional term limits in Missouri, but only if at least 25 other states support the idea. That proposal has been dormant for years but may be re-energized with the public's perceived anger at Congress, as registered in polls.

"I believe that the voters elect citizen legislators, not career politicians who run for one office one election and a different office in another election just to find a job," said Wagner in a statement.

"Washington is broken and decaying with politicians who have become too cozy with the status quo and their political stature. That is why I support a constitutional amendment that limits members of the U.S. House to three terms and members of the U.S. Senate to two terms. I feel, as a first-time candidate for public office, that it is the right thing to do for the district and country."

Said Martin: "Americans know that citizen legislators bring common sense and real world experience and that, all too often, career politicians in Washington, D.C., lose touch and are corrupted by the power and influence of their position. I signed the term limits pledge because I believe our Founding Fathers intended our government to be of the people, by the people and for the people and expected citizen legislators to serve for a limited period and then return to normal life. It is time for a constitutional amendment to ensure this!"

Wagner, of Ballwin, is competing against Martin, a St. Louis lawyer, in the Republican primary next year. Republican incumbent Todd Akin is vacating the seat to run for the U.S. Senate.

So far, there are no major announced Democrats in the 2nd District contest, although U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, is considering a bid since his district has been eliminated by the General Assembly since Missouri is losing a congressional district.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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