Annoyed with expensive elections, lawmaker wants them less often

12/13/2010 12:33 PM

Fed up with the rising costs of campaigns, state Rep. Ron Crimm, a Republican from Louisville, pre-filed a bill that would extend the terms of both state representatives and state senators by two years, starting in 2012.

Crimm’s measure would make state representatives’s terms four years and state senators would be elected to six-year terms.

Because the length of terms are outlined in the Kentucky Constitutional, Crimm’s bill calls for amending the constitution. That requires support of three-fifths of lawmakers in each chamber and the approval of voters in order to take effect.

Crimm, who represents part of eastern Louisville, defeated his Democratic opponent, Kimberly Greenwell, by a 2-to-1 margin in November.

But Crimm said he was frustrated over the fact that he had to raise $60,000 to keep pace with opponent in his re-election bid. He noted that in his first race for state representative, Crimm raised $20,000, but has since seen that fund-raising number increase steadily year-after-year.

“Surely there are better ways to spend that money,” Crimm said.

If that trend continues, Crimm said it will push the everyday person away from running

“It’s really tough raising the money,“¬†Crimm said in a phone interview. “We talk about everyday people wanting to run for office, but unless they had a known money source, they won’t be able to raise the money necessary for a campaign.”

Crimm also said that the time period for state representatives between elections is too short, with only one year in the legislature before a legislator has to re-file for re-election. Most of the time, that means only 30 days of legislating before representatives must re-file, he said.

While Crimm pre-filed the bill Friday, it is not the first time the idea has been brought up in bill form, he said. The idea has been bounced around Frankfort for years. But in the wake of this last election, Crimm said he finally backed up his words in bill form.

Crimm’s unsure how much he’ll push his bill in the current session, he said.

“I’ve already talked to Democrats and Republicans about this. This is talked about all the time in Frankfort,” Crimm said.

And he knows such a proposal will draw opposition, which is why Crimm said he plans to test the waters before going full-steam ahead on the amendment.

“They are going to be a number of people that are going to say we don’t need to that, we need to judge these people” in elections as often as we currently do, Crimm said.

-Reporting by Kenny Colston


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