Qualifications Needed to Become a U.S. Senator
The basic qualifications needed to become a politician, including a U.S. senator, are set forth by the U.S. constitution. They refer to a Senate candidate's age, citizenship status and the state in which the aspiring senator lives.
Qualifications for Becoming a U.S. Senator
The qualifications to become a U.S. senator are stated in the U.S. constitution; article one, section three and clause three. The constitution states that to become a senator an applicant must meet specific age, citizenship and state status.
The U.S. Senate was formed in 1787 by a convention informally referred to as the framers of the constitution. These requirements have been in effect since that time. There are no constitutional amendments that apply to the requirements for becoming a U.S. senator.
The minimum age requirement to serve as a U.S. senator is 30 years of age. James Madison, one of the framers of the Constitution, justified the higher age requirement in the Senate, saying serving as a senator required greater life experience and stability of character, according to the United States Senate (www.senate.gov)
An applicant into the U.S. senate must be a U.S. citizen for nine years prior to applying for the senate. The 9-year rule helps ensure that foreign-born senators show more loyalty to the United States than to their countries of birth. This helps promote fairness when senators have to deal with treaties and make other foreign policy decisions.
A U.S. senator is required to be an inhabitant of the state in which he or she is elected. The constitution does not specify how long a senate candidate must reside in the state in order to run.
Additional State Requirements
In addition to the constitutional requirements, U.S. senators must also meet state registration requirements, be up-to-date on taxes and pass a criminal background check. Registration requirements may vary by state, but typically include being registered with a political party and being eligible to vote.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also noted that candidates might benefit from legal, business or teaching experience. They must also have exceptional organizational, leadership and communication skills to represent their state effectively.
Salary and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that legislators - which include U.S. Senators - were expected to see little or no change in employment from 2010 to 2020. The BLS also noted that the median annual salary for all legislators was $19,780, although its figures are skewed lower because of the larger number of local and state officials included within this group.
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