Providence, R.I. – Democrat Bill Lynch said Monday he would propose limiting members of Congress to 12 years in office if elected to the House of Representatives this fall.
Lynch, one of four Democrats vying to replace outgoing Rep. Patrick Kennedy in Congress, said lawmakers will be better motivated to help their constituents if they know they have only a limited time in Washington. He said career politicians can become complacent and especially vulnerable to the influences of lobbyists
and special interests.
``If you can't go to Washington and solve real problems in 12 years or less, then you shouldn't be sent there in the first place,'' Lynch, the former state Democratic party chairman, said at a news conference announcing his proposal.
Lynch called for limiting senators to two six-year terms and members of the House to six two-year terms. Lawmakers already serving would be subject to the cap once they complete their current terms.
The change would require a constitutional amendment approved by two-thirds of both chambers of Congress, as well as 38 of the 50 states.
Lynch pledged to serve only 12 years, even if his term limit proposal did not pass.
``Running for Congress is not something that I see as a lifelong career and, so, I will hold myself to that limit and I urge all of my opponents, in this race in Rhode Island as well as across the country, to do the same,'' he said.
Kennedy, the son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy -- who served in the Senate for nearly half a century -- announced in February that he would not seek a ninth term.
Besides Lynch, other Democrats in the race include Providence Mayor David Cicilline, state Rep. David Segal and businessman Anthony Gemma.
Cicilline said in a statement Monday that instead of term limits, he would support banning members of Congress from becoming lobbyists and would work to ``end the influence of corporations in elections.''
The Democratic candidates will face off in a debate Tuesday night.
The winner of the September primary is expected to face Republican state Rep. John Loughlin in the general election.