At one point or another, I am sure many people have wondered how to become a member of Congress. Is it as simple as getting a few campaign donations and a few votes, or is there a bit more to it?
There are really three key aspects that need to be satisfied to become a member of Congress. The constitutional requirements, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing requirements and then the overarching personal qualities that voters are looking for from their leaders. Below I have summarized the items needed to identify how to become a member of Congress.
How to Become a Member of Congress: Requirements and Qualifications
These requirements are highlighted in Article 1, Section 2 of the US constitution:
- Be at least 25 years of age.
- Have been a citizen of the United States for at least seven years.
- Be (at the time of election) a resident of the state you are elected to represent.
If you can satisfy these three basic requirements, then you are eligible. But eligibility is the easy part.
FEC Filing Requirements
- Once an individual’s campaign activity exceeds $5,000 in either contributions or expenditures, they must register.
- Within fifteen days of that cap being hit, the candidate must file a Statement of Candidacy.
- Then the candidate must identify a principal campaign committee. Once that committee is formed, the candidate has 10 days to file a Statement of Organization.
- Lastly, once the committee is formed, it cannot accept contributions for the campaign until a Treasurer is established within the committee. The treasurer is the only one that may sign FEC reports and statements on behalf of the campaign.
Now that you have the FEC requirements satisfied, we need to examine what qualities voters are looking for. The requirements are just a part of how to become a member of congress.
Top 5 Qualities of Political Leaders
As obvious as these may be, this is the core of what voters want from their elected officials. A recent Gallup poll showed that 53% of Americans want their leaders to compromise, opposed to 21% that wanted their leaders to stick to their principles. The ability to compromise reflects all of these five qualities.
If you follow the steps above, you can take the first step on your journey to start enacting the change you want to see in the world by becoming a member of Congress.
– Brian Faust