Release: Sanders Launches State of the Union Essay Contest for Vermont High School Students

BURLINGTON, Dec. 29 – With President Barack Obama expected to deliver his State of the Union address in late January, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today asked Vermont high school students to submit short essays on how they see the state of the union.

By the time Obama appears before a special joint session of Congress, the senator hopes to have collected thoughtful essays from high school-age Vermonters.  The essays may focus on issues of concern to young people, how families are coping with the recession, or what students think the president’s priorities should be for the country’s short-term and long-term goals.

The senator encouraged Vermont teachers and administrators to ask their students to consider the essential American question: what is the state of our union?

The Constitution calls for the president to "give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Sanders said the annual address also could be an occasion to hear from Vermont’s young people.

A panel of Vermont teachers will review the entries. The senator will visit the winner’s school to meet with students to discuss the state of the union and what can be done to create more opportunities for Vermonters and Americans.  The winning essay will be published in the Congressional Record.

Essays of between 250 and 500 words about the State of the Union should be submitted by Jan. 21, 2011 to

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