Lincoln, Omaha mayors against term limit proposal

October 5, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The mayors of Nebraska’s two largest cities are uniting against a ballot measure that would retroactively impose term limits on Lincoln’s mayor.

Republican Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and Democratic Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler held a joint news conference Thursday to say they’re opposed to the partisan use of term limits.

“Our work as mayors of Nebraska’s two largest cities is nonpartisan,” Stothert said.

The ballot measure, which is backed by Republican activists, would impose a three-term limit on the Lincoln mayor position. The measure would prevent Beutler from seeking a fourth term next year.

Stothert said the measure unfairly targets Beutler. Term limits should target an office, not a specific person, she said.

“The message here today is that this is wrong,” Stothert said. “Don’t make it retroactive; don’t make it to punish the officials in office now.”

The push for the measure is being led by the Political Renewal Association, which is backed by J.L. Spray, a Republican National Committeeman. The move has prompted Nebraska Democrats to threaten retaliation with a similar proposal aimed at Stothert, who is considering seeking a third term as Omaha mayor.

Association Spokesman Matt Innis said letting politicians serve in office without term limits is “the biggest problem in this country.”

“We don’t think anybody should be able to serve a lifetime in public office,” Innis said in September. “The Founding Fathers, when setting up everything, never intended for people to become kings or emperors.”

Though three Republican leaders spearheaded the effort behind the measure, the state GOP said it doesn’t support the proposal.

Nebraska’s governor and members of the state Legislature are limited to two, four-year terms.