Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Mills: On term limits, redistricting, seniority

by BIZ Magazine

I love and appreciate America! I fondly remember celebrating our 200th birthday during my last year of college in 1976 with friends.  I have always loved my native state of Louisiana, it is unique, beautiful, full of natural resources and has been so good to my family and I.  I respect our form of government and I have long supported installing term limits in all layers of our government.  Granted I mostly focused on our Federal legislators and the silly, stupid things that get done and the good, conservative things that do not get done up there.  The fact that we would lose some good Senators or Congressmen before they are through doing their good work is balanced by the fact that we will also get rid of legislators that do not love a free and independent America.  I trust that more good Americans will stand up and take their turn at the helm.

Here in Louisiana we have installed term limits of two consecutive four year terms (8 years) in the office of Governor and three consecutive four year terms (12 years) in both the House of Representatives and State Senate.  Those limits have been in place long enough that we’ve seen the effects of mandated turnover.  Overall, I’d call it successful and good for the citizens.  I was elected in late 2019 to serve in the Louisiana Senate from 2020-2024 representing 115,000 people living in District 36, a large and rural district covering most of Bossier, all of Webster and much of Claiborne and Bienville Parishes.

Every 10 years we redraw our representative districts to protect the fair and equal representation of every citizen of Louisiana. From 2010 to 2020 Louisiana’s population grew slightly, up to approximately 4,660,500 and each of our 39 State Senate districts must contain approximately 119,500 constituents for the start of the 2024-2028 term so new geographic boundaries were required for each district. The southward shift in population required that we “move” Senate District 37 from Shreveport-Bossier City to south Louisiana where the population has grown.  My Senate District 36 was greatly affected and I lost all my Claiborne, Bienville and much of Webster Parish constituents but gained most of densely populated Bossier City.  Reuniting Bossier City with the rest of Bossier Parish is a very good thing and I look forward to representing fast growing Bossier Parish and Bossier City if I am re-elected on October 14th.

My initial 4 years in the State Senate were successful and I’ll be talking about that in the future.  When I arrived there was a long learning curve of how the House and Senate work, how to get basic things done and working with Senate leadership to see what committees and boards I would serve on.  Top Senate leadership is the President and President Pro-Tem who are often third term members, they choose numerous other second and third term members they’ve served with for Committee Chairmanships and Vice Chairs and the leaders of the Senate are established.  I’ve paid my dues as a freshman and now look forward to a leadership position to help my cities, my parishes and my constituents recover from a very difficult four years with a divided state government.  How this last session ended was an embarrassment, the Senate was not given time to review a House proposed budget before the session had to end by law at 6:00 PM.  Incoming leadership candidates including myself are committed to install rules to avoid ‘jamming’ either chamber during future budgeting process.  I’m sure 2024-2028 will be a great time for Louisiana and for Senate District 36 with a veteran legislator representing a unified Bossier Parish and Bossier City.

Louisiana Senator Robert Mills, District 36

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