Efforts are underway to place a term limit on the Lincoln mayoral office after Democratic Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler announced that he plans to seek a fourth term. The push is being led by the Political Renewal Association, which is backed by J.L. Spray, a Republican National Committeeman.
“We don’t think anybody should be able to serve a lifetime in public office,” said Matt Innis, spokesman for the association. “The Founding Fathers, when setting up everything, never intended for people to become kings or emperors.”
Organizers have gathered more than 4,300 valid signatures, enough to put the Lincoln term limit issue on the November ballot, said the Lancaster County Election Commissioner’s Office.
It would only be fair to apply the term limit to both cities, said Jane Kleeb, chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party.
But Republican Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, who may run for a third term, said term limits should be placed on an office in general, not aimed at an individual.
“What Jane Kleeb is trying to do is directed at me,” Stothert said. “It’s because I’m a Republican, and that’s unfortunate.”
But Kleeb countered that the Democratic party wouldn’t stand by as efforts move forward to limit the Lincoln mayor’s term.
“You can’t put term limits on a mayor in Lincoln because you can’t beat him and then expect that the (Nebraska Democratic) party is just going to sit there and say ‘oh well,'” Kleeb said.
The state GOP isn’t behind the Lincoln petition, said Kenny Zoeller, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party. The party does support the concept of term limits, he said.
Nebraska’s governor and members of the state Legislature are limited to two, four-year terms.