Chesapeake man starts petition on term limits for locally elected officials

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – A petition circulating around the City of Chesapeake asks citizens if they would like to see a question about term limits added to next year’s ballot.

27 years, 23, 19 and 11 are just some lengths of time Chesapeake city council members have spent in the office.

They are years David Schleeper wants to shorten.

“I’m from Chesapeake, raised here since I can remember, grew up on a farm. This is my town and I feel like it’s just gone to a group of people basically to a good ‘ole boy system,” Schleeper said. “I want to disrupt that and give it back to the people.”

He started this petition two weeks ago, asking voters to support his push for a vote on term limits.

“The core of this is based on the idea that can somebody be reasonably expected to make a decision that would put them out of a job even if that’s the right decision to make? That’s a very difficult decision and I believe that’s best handled by the people of Chesapeake and not by people who would be voting in their own interest,” Schleeper said.

He and his team are looking to get 30,000 signatures in four months.

They created a website and Facebook page explaining the plan. Citizens can even pick up petitions at Ddeb’s Restaurant on Old Dr.

“We want to get people re-energized,” Schleeper said.

If he gets the signatures, the question could be placed on the March 2018 ballot asking all voters if they support term limits for all locally elected officials.

Schleeper thinks three 4-year terms or 12 years in office is enough.

“After that are you still relevant to today’s needs, to today’s technologies, to today’s citizens even?” he questioned.

Schleeper believes the change would get younger people more engaged in the political process and possibly draw more voters to the polls.

“Not that all of the ideas we have had are bad. A lot of them I very much support but it would be nice to have some new perspectives some diverse ideas,” Schleeper said.