JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) -- Since when has a sitting politician ever said, "Y'know, my job needs a term limit"? But Johnston's mayor, Joseph Polisena, did, and his constituents agreed. The mayor's office will soon have a limit of two four-year terms, after it was voted in Nov. 6.
"What, are you crazy, putting in term limits?" is the question Mayor Polisena got from a lot of people, he said Tuesday. "I said, yeah, I think it's a good thing. It's something I believe in."
It became a ballot question in Johnston, with 50 campaign signs in favor of it posted around town -- that the mayor paid for out of his own pocket. When the votes came in, 74% had voted to insitute term limits. The measure passed, and will take effect in 2014.
Previously, the mayor could hold an unlimited amount of two-year terms. Right now, Polisena is serving his sixth year in office, and if he's reelected in 2014, he'd get a maximum of two more four-year terms in office.
Polisena believes some of Johnston's past mayors have served for more than two decades. Why change the status quo? "I think term limits are healthy," he said. "Brings in new blood.
"If you can't complete your agenda in eight years, then you've got more than an agenda."
Some Rhode Island cities and towns, including Providence, already have term limits. Polisena is hoping the idea will sweep the nation to those municipalities that don't already have such a limit.
"I think if it was offered on a nationwide basis, it would probably pass higher than what we passed here in Johnston," he said.
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