NEWS: Sanders Announces Fourteenth Annual State of the Union Essay Contest 

BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 20 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has launched his fourteenth annual State of the Union Essay Contest for Vermont students.

Each year, the President of the United States delivers the “State of the Union” address to a joint session of Congress, which outlines priorities for the coming year. Sanders knows that great ideas can come from everyone – not just those in power – which is why he created the State of the Union Essay Contest to encourage young people to engage in the political process. The contest is an opportunity for Vermont high school students to describe a major issue facing our country and propose what they would do to solve it.

“The purpose of this contest is to get young people to start thinking about the many important issues that we deal with every day,” said Sanders. “We are living in very tough times. There is no doubt about it. All people have the right to express their views and help shape the direction in which our country goes – and that includes young people. I want to see our students be actively engaged, no matter where they stand on the issues.”

The 250-500 word essays can be on any issue of national importance. A volunteer panel of Vermont educators will judge the essays on the students’ ability to articulate an issue and propose a solution, without regard to the students’ political views. Following the contest, Sanders will enter the essays of the finalists into the Congressional Record – the official archive of the U.S. Congress.

Over 5,700 students from high schools across Vermont have written essays in the past thirteen years about critically important issues, including climate change, racial justice, access to mental health care, immigration reform, the state of our democracy, and much, much more. Last year, August Howe from Twinfield Union School was selected as the winner from 382 submissions for their essay on misinformation.

The deadline for student essay submission is Jan. 9, 2024. More information can be found on Sanders’ Senate website at or by calling (800) 339-9834.