So You Want to Become a Senator?

How to Become a Senator
How do you become a Senator? For many people in the United States, the steps to becoming a senator may seem mysterious and inaccessible for the common citizen. In reality, there are few requirements insisted on by the Constitution. Being a senator can be challenging and rewarding, especially for one advocating for the world’s poor. During the six-year term after the election, a senator reviews specific bills and votes on whether or not they should become laws. One could even propose global poverty focused bills! Sound fascinating? Here are the requirements and recommendations on how to become a senator, for all of our budding politicians out there who want to help the world.


3 Eligibility Requirements in the Constitution:

  1. One must be at least 30 years old before being sworn into office.
  2. One must inhabit the state they want to represent.
  3. One must have U.S. citizenship for 9 years prior to running for Senate.


How to Become a Senator


  • Get Established in the Community: Many senators recommend participating in local politics first, called “coming up through the chairs,” before going for the big leagues. Run for smaller offices such as a local government committee member or as town mayor. See how the U.S. government processes work on a community level where you can gain a positive reputation and good credentials. Build up to running for higher positions such as your state’s governor. If you are then ready for the challenge, try and get elected as a senator.
  • Educational Background: Though it’s certainly not a requirement, a Bachelor’s degree or higher in law, political science, and/or business has proven to be important for senators. In our current congress, almost 40% of senators are lawyers, and 20% are bankers or businessmen. It’s possible to be elected without a background in these subjects, but the numbers don’t lie.
  • Make Sure to Have Party Backing: Gaining support from a political party is a gigantic help. People from the “party machine” will endorse you and help you to get elected into office in ways that would be challenging to do alone. Consider who will align with your goals of wanting to increase poverty-focused aid, and partner up with them!
  • Don’t Forget the Details: Did you remember to file candidacy with the state’s Secretary of State? In addition, signatures from people in one’s political party will be necessary to get on the ballot. Contact the state government to find out the minimum number needed.
  • Round Up a Campaign Committee and then Campaign: A good campaign can’t run without people working to support it. Campaigning is an expensive and time consuming process. A manager, fundraising person, and public relations professional will all be needed to get your ideas out there and to keep the campaign running smoothly. Advertise, participate in interviews, and give speeches. Inform your possible constituents about the importance of foreign aid, and get them all riled up and wanting to create change with you. All that’s left to do is campaign with all one’s heart!
  • Be Ready to Answer Foreign Aid FAQ’s: Military leaders, business leaders and humanitarian groups all recognize the importance of reducing global poverty. While it’s tempting to speak out against foreign aid while campaigning, many leaders quickly change their stance once confronted by military leaders on the role helping reduce human suffering plays in national security.

Finally, what is the one thing of importance that veterans of the Senate can all agree upon? “What matters… is a willingness to work and learn, to stand up for values, and most important, to earn trust.”

– Caylee Pugh

Sources: NY Times, How Stuff Works, US Senate
Photo: Maid in DC