Barbara Skapa’s column in the Nov. 9 edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram – “Maine Voices: Do we need all these lawmakers?” – was interesting.

As a former legislator, I engaged in many debates related to “shrinking the Legislature.” There have been numerous proposals to reduce the number of senators to two per county or to expand the size of each legislative district (thus reducing the total number of lawmakers). While this would save money, many argue that the savings would be at the expense of representation.

If we really want to save money and improve the governance of Maine, we should increase legislative terms to four years, rather than the current two-year terms. I am not talking about removing term limits, which should happen as well – but that is a different debate. Instead of four two-year terms, lawmakers would be term-limited after two four-year terms.

Currently with two-year terms, the first year is the only really productive session – budgets are created, trust and relationships are developed and the majority of the bills are presented. By the second year, people are in election mode.

Lawmakers are scared to take tough votes, relationships are strained and the mood is partisan. Longer legislative terms would allow for more stability of governance and improved decision making on policy.

This proposal wouldn’t cost the state or taxpayers a dime. In fact, this would save money from the Clean Election Fund, reduce the amount of campaign literature and ads in our homes and – most importantly – support efficiency in the Maine Legislature.

My name is Boyd Marley, and I approve this message.