FL: Lawmaker’s term-limit pledge comes back to haunt him—24 years later

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

ST PETERSBURG — A GOP representative who promised to push for term-limits in his initial congressional campaign run is again seeking office, hoping to claim victory for a 13th term in the nation’s capital.

U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns of the 6th District, composed of north-central Florida, made limiting the amount of time Congress members can serve a constant trope of his early legislative career, beginning with a stern pledge in the 1988 general election.

I believe in term limits and I’m going to abide by it myself. I plan to be out of the House after 12 years,” Stearns told the St. Petersburg Times in 1988.

He later reiterated to the Gainesville Sun in 1995 that he would serve “no more than 12 years even if Congress does not adopt its own term-limit restrictions.”

To give it your all for 12 years takes a pretty good effort,” he told the paper at the time.

Stearns was also a proud supporter of the Republican Party’s Contract with America in 1994, spearheaded by then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Section 10 of the contract included the “Citizen Legislature Act,” a bill that would introduce a 12-year limit on the terms of House representatives.

The bill was never brought to the floor.

Read more: Florida Watchdog