The role of all top executives is to identify the goals and objectives of an organization, and then to devise and implement strategies that will ensure the organization meets those goals and objectives. Legislators are elected by the public to develop, enact, or amend laws. Specific examples include Senators and Representatives at the Federal and State level, and county, city, and town commissioners and council members. They prepare bills by studying staff reports and hearing testimony form interested parties. Then they introduce, examine, and vote on whether or not to pass those bills into official legislation. They approve budgets and appointments, and in some cases, may appoint the city, town, or county manager.
Legislators must have well-developed, above-average interpersonal skills. They must be excellent communicators. They also need to be capable of analyzing large amounts of data and the interrelationships between multiple factors. In addition, they must also have leadership skills, self-confidence, motivation, decisiveness, flexibility, sound judgment, and determination.
In 2002, legislators earned a median annual salary of $15,220. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $12,130, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $69,380.
Training and Education
Candidates for legislative positions need to meet minimum age, residency, and citizenship requirements, but other than that there are no formal education, training, or experience requirements. They come from any number of backgrounds – such as lawyer, private sector manager, or business owner – but usually they have some sort of political experience. Due to increasing campaign costs, fundraising skills are essential. Management-level work experience or public service can help a candidate develop necessary campaign skills such as budgeting, public speaking, and problem-solving.
In 2002, legislators held about 67,000 jobs. Some legislators do not work full-time or year-round in their legislative position; these legislators usually continue to work in the position they held before they were elected.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of legislators is not expected to change significantly. This is because few new governments are likely to be created at any level. However, a slight increase will occur in local governments because counties, cities, and towns are expected to hire professional managers and move away from volunteers to paid executives.
Please visit our page about MBA Programs for information on becoming a legislator.