Sanders Announces State of the Union Essay Contest

BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 9 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) launched his ninth annual State of the Union essay contest on Friday.

Each January, the president of the United States delivers a “State of the Union” speech to a joint session of Congress, in which he outlines his priorities for the coming year. And each year, Sanders invites Vermont high school students to describe a major issue facing our country and what they would do to solve that problem.

The 250-500 word essays can be on any issue of national importance. A volunteer panel of Vermont teachers will judge the essays on the students’ ability to articulate an issue and propose a solution, without regard to the students’ political views.

Sanders will invite the 20 finalists to a roundtable discussion at the Vermont Statehouse, and will enter their essays in the Congressional Record – the official archive of the U.S. Congress.

“This essay contest is a great way to get our students thinking about solutions to the challenges facing our country,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee. “We need our students to be actively engaged, no matter where they stand on the issues. They are the future of our country, and they must be involved in discussions about where our nation needs to go.”

More than 3,500 students from high schools throughout Vermont have written essays in the past eight years, covering a wide range of important issues such as the declining middle class, climate change, health care, the national debt, gun safety, the rising cost of a college education, and many others. Last year’s winner, Maggie Parker from Woodstock Union High School, was selected from 585 essays. She wrote about the importance of protecting LGBTQ rights.

The deadline for student essay submissions is Jan. 9, 2019. More information can be found on Sanders’ Senate webpage at , by calling (800) 339-9834 or by emailing

To learn more, click here