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How Do I Become an Alderman?

An alderman is a essentially a lawmaker for a city or town.
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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
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An alderman is another term for a lawmaker sitting on a city government's council. If you want to become an alderman, you need to become an expert in public policy and be an attentive listener to your constituents' needs. You also must familiarize yourself with the various duties that help get laws passed in a community. It is equally important to understand how to run for this office, because it is an elected position and not an appointed one.

There are no educational requirements necessary if you want to become an alderman, but there are several things you should learn before attempting to run for office. A strong understanding of political science and local laws is a must in order to be successful in this role. You also must be sure of the requirements for becoming a politician in your city. In the United States, for example, most politicians have to be at least of voting age and live within the district over which they preside.

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Learning the election process is crucial in order to become an alderman. In the United States, an alderman represents a certain district of a community on the city council, and they must campaign in that area. You probably will have to go to the local city hall and fill out paperwork in order to declare yourself a candidate. Often, if there are multiple people running, you will be involved in debates. Alderman candidates also might print up posters and yard signs and go to public events to meet voters and explain their views.

There are a great number of duties you must understand in order to be successful after you become an alderman. In many governments, such as many in the United States, the city council is one step below the mayor and works in tandem with the mayor to make decisions about zoning regulations, public policy and laws for the community. Another important duty of aldermen is to be available to constituents. Your primary job will be to represent the people of your district, and you will need to make time to converse with voters in person, on the phone and via email in order to find out how they feel and want you to vote on certain topics.

Another thing you will want to research, if you want to become an alderman, is what time commitments the job demands. Many alderman jobs constitute a part-time job's hours, and they pay accordingly. Aldermen in this situation usually hold another job or are retired. In some places, such as Chicago, the job of alderman is full time and offers a full salary.

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Post 1

This is actually one of the easier positions to win. Those with the best shots at becoming aldermen tend to be people who are "local," have kept their noses clean in terms of behaving within the law and have a good rapport with the people in their districts.

Now, it's not easy to become an alderman -- the chances are good that people running for this office will face competitors who are also familiar in their communities and have lived in them for a long time. Still, campaigning generally doesn't cost as much as it does for other offices and becoming an alderman is a great stepping stone to a higher office such as mayor.

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