Want to Run for Political Office? Here’s How

Want to Run for Political Office

(IntegrityTimes.com) – In the United States, we have the privilege and the honor to participate in our government as citizens by running for political office at local or national levels. As President Abraham Lincoln intoned during a critical time in our history long ago, ours really is a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” While most senior Democrats and Republicans have worked as elected representatives for their entire careers, almost anyone can run for public office.

So, how does one pursue the goal of becoming an elected public servant? We’ve broken down the requirements for some of the most important political positions.

Local Politics

If you’re new to the world of politics, chances are you’ll begin your journey on the local stage. Unless you have a large social network and a lot of money to spend, a position in Congress will be beyond you. However, there are plenty of roles closer to home in which you could make a huge difference.

State Government

At the state level, you could run for the state Senate or House of Representatives. These bodies write the legislation that governs the state, as well as overseeing most of the important administrative work in the community. The House of Representatives is a larger chamber that represents smaller districts, making it a more achievable target for a political newcomer.

You could also run for a party-political position at the state level, or try to become a court clerk or trial judge.

County Government

Important government positions at the county level include county commissioner and county executive. The former sits on a board that decides on county policies and administrative tasks, while the latter is a single figure who manages county departments and budgets.

Other government positions at this level include the county attorney, county coroner, county engineer, and county auditor.

Municipal Government

The nature of your municipal government will depend on the area you’re in. If you live in a city, you could run for the position of mayor or city manager. Smaller towns and villages also have plenty of important government positions to fill. Townships and village councils act on the wishes of local people and represent their area on larger stages. School board positions are also publicly elected in many areas.

National Politics

While traditionally, people run for local-level offices first, it is possible to run for and win national-level offices as a first-time candidate — and it doesn’t always require fame or money. It does require motivation, perspiration and preparation. Take up a compelling cause to propel you and appeal to your base or propose a legislative solution to a problem that affects the constituency you hope to represent — find your motivation. Consider associating yourself with a party — it may help you to learn more about the constituents you seek to represent and all the issues they face.

To become a member of the House of Representatives, you need to be at least 25 years old, have been a US citizen for 7 years, and live in the state that elects you. To become a senator, you must be 30 years of age, have US citizenship for at least 9 years, and, again, live in the state that elects you.

To become the president, you must be a natural-born US citizen who has lived in the country for 14 consecutive years before the election. You must also be at least 35 years of age. The same rules apply to the vice-president.

Becoming an elected official is not something that everyone aspires to. It’s challenging work and the stakes are always high. However, if you do want to represent your peers in government, you could get the chance to make a real difference to your community. At a time when our political system is under more pressure than ever before, America needs every capable leader it can get.

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