Who Is Qualified to Serve?

Some little known facts about running for office from Rep. DeLissio.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief, Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief. Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker…

Many citizens would be surprised that any of the folks listed is eligible to run for office in the United States from the President to local school board, township commissioner, city council member, or district magistrate.

The true benefit of our type of government is that when it comes to elected office, theoretically, the playing field is level.

There are residency requirements for some offices and age minimums for other offices. For example, State Representative, the qualifications are that you live in the District for one year before running for election, live in Pennsylvania for 4 years, and be at least 21 years of age. State Senators need to be a minimum of 25 years of age and reside in their districts for one year before running for election.

To run for U. S. Senate, a candidate must be at least 30 years old, be a citizen of the U. S. for at least the past nine years, and live in the state they seek to represent at the time of their election.

For U.S. Congress, a candidate must be at least 25 years of age, be a citizen of the U.S. for at least seven years, and a resident of the state of which sends them to Congress.

Please note that they do not need to live in the congressional district that they represent. The states may set additional requirements for election to Congress, but the Constitution gives each state house the power to determine the qualifications of its members. Pennsylvania sets no additional requirements.

To become President, a candidate must be a natural born citizen, must be at least thirty-five years of age, and must have been a resident in the U.S. for at least fourteen years.

It’s important to note that there are no educational requirements for any of these elected offices.

It is incumbent upon the voters to do their homework to determine the credentials, experience and qualifications of the candidates running for office and decide which of that information they deem valuable.

It is also incumbent upon the voters to know what the responsibilities are of any particular elected office.

When I first ran in 2010 for State Representative I was asked a variety of questions about the position — everything from “Is this a volunteer position?,” to “Will you have to move to Washington?,” and “Is the position full time or part time?

We must educate our citizenry about how government works at all levels. In this way, we can ensure that this wonderful experiment that has been going on for 240 years will continue for at least that many years more.

And to leave my constituents with one last “fun” fact that should leave us all wondering about the future… there are no official qualifications or requirements for becoming a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

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