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

BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 17 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has launched his thirteenth annual State of the Union Essay Contest.

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 anyone – 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.

“There is no doubt that in the recent midterm election young people played a decisive role in electing senators, representatives, governors, and state legislators,” Sanders said. “The future of this country rests in their hands and their lives, by definition, will be more impacted by the decisions that are made right now in city halls, state houses, and in the Congress than anyone else. That’s why I am proud to host this contest every year and hear our Vermont students actively engage in democracy, no matter where they stand on the issues. I look forward very much to reviewing the essays that are submitted.” 

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. Following the contest, Sanders will enter the essays of the finalists into the Congressional Record – the official archive of the U.S. Congress.

Over 5,300 students from high schools across Vermont have written essays in the past twelve 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, Sasha Lann from Brattleboro Union High School was selected as the winner from 409 submissions for their essay on voting rights.

The deadline for student essay submissions is January 10, 2023. More information can be found on Sanders’ Senate website at or by calling (800) 339-9834.