Legislators Career Video
Description: Develop, introduce or enact laws and statutes at the local, tribal, State, or Federal level. Includes only workers in elected positions.
In a democracy, citizens elect officials to create or change laws and provide funding for essential services, such as education and roads. Legislators conduct this service through a city council, the state house or senate, tribal leadership, or through the United States Congress. Legislators introduce, examine, that determine how taxpayers’ money will be spent, and what laws will govern their community. Along with their staff, they often hold hearings, conduct investigations, and take input from interested constituents and groups. Some legislators work part time, often for little or no pay, while others may work 60 or more hours per week! They need to campaign for re-election regularly, as the voters determine who is hired. The first step for seeking election is learning how to get on the ballot for the elected role you hope to win. The work demands speaking in public, making decisions, and working toward compromise to meet the often conflicting demands of constituents. Requirements for a minimum age, residency, and citizenship are typical— but there is no formal experience needed to become a legislator. Most have at least a bachelor’s degree. No matter what level of government they are in, legislators must be committed to the public good— weighing the needs of their constituents and the impact of their decisions.