A form signed by Maine 2nd District contender Mike Perkins is typical of those collected by U.S. Term Limits in its quest to push restrictions on how long members of Congress can serve. U.S. Term Limits

Though politicians have a way of squirming out of term limit pledges, at least six congressional hopefuls in Maine’s 2nd District have said they would vote to bar U.S. House members from serving more than three, two-year terms.

“Mainers deserve citizen lawmakers who are responsive to their needs and I feel that term limits provide an important way to achieve that goal,” Republican candidate Liz Caruso of Caratunk said in a social media post.

Caruso is one of three Republicans who have signed the U.S. Term Limits pledge, along with two more GOP contenders in the district, former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and state Rep. Mike Perkins of Oakland.

Another Republican candidate in the district, Garret Swazey of Bangor, said Friday he endorses term limits and plans to sign the pledge.

“Incumbents get way too comfortable after a while,” he said.

The sole Democrat challenging the reelection of two-term U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, Michael Sutton of Bangor, has also signed the pledge.

“It is always a good thing, regardless of party affiliation to have new idea and fresh perspectives on the issues facing the people,” Sutton said in a Facebook post.

While Golden has not signed the pledge itself, he has taken the step it calls for: co-sponsoring a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to adopt term limits. He is the only Democrat in the House to do so. The resolution, mostly endorsed by Republicans, has gone nowhere since its introduction last spring.

Nick Tomboulides, executive director for U.S. Term Limits, said late Friday that Golden “has been a tremendous ally for the term limits movement” and has said he plans to sign the pledge.

“He has been as supportive of our efforts as possible,” Tomboulides said.

The president of the term limits group, Philip Blumel, said in a written statement that the show of support from candidates in Maine indicates “there are individuals who are willing to put self-interest aside to follow the will of the people. America needs a Congress that will be served by citizen legislators, not career politicians.”

Polls have found for years that voters say they want term limits, but they also routinely vote for incumbents who have held office for long stints.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, pledged during her first senatorial campaign in 1996 “that if I’m elected, I will only serve two terms.”

In her first year in office, she co-sponsored a resolution with the same provisions included in the measure Golden signed this year.

Collins is in her fifth term, 25 years after taking a term limits pledge. One of the most senior senators, she could wind up as chair of the Appropriations Committee in 2023, if Republicans take control of the Senate in the next election.

Poliquin, the frontrunner in the GOP congressional primary, has long made term limits a top issue.

In his initial 2014 race, he cited his backing for term limits as a “clear contrast” to his Democratic rival, Emily Cain, who did not. He called her a “career politician.”

This week, Poliquin said that, “serving in Congress should be just that — it should be about public service. I have had a successful career in the private sector. I am not running for Congress to get a job, I am running to help create jobs and grow Maine’s economy.”

The idea of adding term limits is older than the country. The Articles of Confederation that preceded the U.S. Constitution included term limits on lawmakers.

In discussing ratification of the Constitution in Virginia, George Mason told colleagues that, “nothing is so essential to the preservation of a republican government as a periodical rotation. Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate their burdens.”

About a third of the states have term limits on legislators, including Maine, but efforts to impose them on Congress have never succeeded. A 1995 Supreme Court decision ruled that it would take a constitutional amendment to make them stick.

The U.S. Term Limits pledge commits candidates to cosponsoring and voting for a constitutional amendment limiting senators to two, six-year terms and House members to three, two-year terms.

To become law, a term limits amendment resolution would need to get the support of two-thirds of both the House and Senate, followed by ratification by 38 states.

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