How to Become a US Senator

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Senate stands for the American people, representing the majority when drafting new legislation that impacts each citizen. In short, it is an important job. In looking to become a U.S. Senator, it is helpful to first know the qualifications required to do so.

First, the Constitution states that those wishing to be a member of the Senate must be at least 30, as opposed to those in the House of Representatives, who can be 25. This is based on the need for a “greater extent of information and stability of character.”

Unlike the Presidency, there is no blanket ban on foreign-born citizens becoming U.S. Senators. Instead the Constitution calls for at least nine years lived as a U.S. citizen. Once again, it is a slightly stricter requirement than the House of Representatives, which requires at least seven years of U.S. citizenship before running. These requirements are in place to prevent brand new citizens who perhaps do not understand a specific state very well yet from running for office. However, it also seeks to prevent exclusion of naturalized citizens of merit.

Finally, to become a U.S. Senator, one must run for the office of a state in which they live. This seems fairly obvious, but attempts to ensure better representation for the residents of said state.

Requirements aside, there is no tried and true path to the Senate, nor is it as simple as getting enough campaign posters out there. In order to run a successful campaign, education is very important. While experience as a politician is not necessary, a background in political science or law is extremely helpful. Similarly, working up through various political offices before trying to become a U.S. Senator is a good strategy.

Running a successful campaign comes down to those appointed to run it; a campaign manager, public relations/advertising, and a fundraising manager. All these positions are essential to what can be a very expensive election process.

Campaigning also requires knowing a state, the people that live in it, and what they need. Being a U.S. Senator is a difficult job, and almost definitely a frustrating one. However, over the years it can also become a most rewarding one.

Ellen Ray

Photo: Flickr

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About Author

Ellen Ray

Ellen lives in Faribault, MN. Her academic interests include English and film: telling stories through writing, film, photography. Ellen has never lived anywhere other than a school of some kind; born at Iowa State, moved to the U.S. Naval Academy, then Shattuck St. Mary’s, then Boston College!

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