Milestone: Duncan Surpassing His Father’s Time in Congress

On Thursday, Duncan will have held Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District On On Thursday,U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. will have held Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District seat for 23 years, 5 months and 19 days — the same amount of time in the same seat previously held by his father, the late John J. Duncan Sr. The next day, the congressman will exceed his father’s service record.
From Michael Collins:
“I’m very grateful to the people for allowing me to serve this long — I’ve never taken it for granted,” Duncan said from his Washington office, where a portrait of his father hangs on the wall beside framed, black-and-white snapshots of father and son
(N)ot everyone thinks keeping a congressional seat in the hands of one family for nearly five decades is a good thing.
“The nepotism of that is pretty rough,” said Ray Wotring, a spokesman for U.S. Term Limits, which argues that U.S. House members should serve no more than three terms, or six years, in office.
“If your father spends his life as a congressman — and I’d say 23 years and change is spending a good chunk of your life as a congressman — and then you follow in his footsteps, what kind of grasp of reality can you possibly have?” Wotring said. “It’s tough to vote for the interests of the average American when you are coming from that lifestyle.”
Duncan said he knows there are others who feel that way, “but I’m trying my best not to wear out my welcome,” he said.
“I’m just as enthusiastic about my job now as I always have been, and I’m still working just as hard as I can and going to as many things as I did when I was a freshman or a sophomore in Congress,” he said. “I’m working real hard to show the people I’m not taking this for granted.”
…Besides, he said, longevity has its benefits. Duncan’s nearly 2½ -decade congressional career means he ranks 42 of 435 House members in seniority. Among Republicans, he ranks 13th.
Seniority “has been a big help to me in getting things done around here by knowing so many of the key people and knowing how the system works,” Duncan said. “I don’t think I would have been as effective if I hadn’t had the experience and the time in office that I’ve had.”/

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