A legislator is an elected official. This means legislators are voted into office. They work at all levels of government from a city council, house of representatives, senate, and congress. Legislators help develop and introduce laws and statues at the level of government they represent.
Watch a video to learn what a legislator does.
How to Become a Legislator
There is no minimum educational requirement to become a legislator. However, as a person runs for higher positions within government, the voters may like to see more education and experience. There may also be citizenship and age requirements, but once met, anyone can run for office. It’s gaining the majority of votes from the people you represent that earns you the position.
Job Description of a Legislator
A legislator would often meet with other legislators to debate key issues and negotiate better outcomes for the people they represent. They must campaign often and get to know the key issues that are important within the community they represent as well. This is important, as they must understand how a law or policy will impact the people and environment they represent.
Legislators may need to travel often, especially during campaign season. They would also give speeches and attend community events to educate the public on key issues and to gain community support on those issues.
Legislator Career Video Transcript
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 statehouse 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 public speaking, making decisions, and working toward a 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.
National Center for O*NET Development. 11-1031.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.