Writing:Introductory section of a state legislative profile

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This page is a content-and-style guide about how to write the introductory (lead) section of articles about incumbent state legislators and candidates for state legislature.

The introductory, or lead, section of the article should briefly summarize core information about the state legislator/candidate covering these areas:

  • Current political post, if he or she is not an incumbent.
  • Seat the person is currently running for, if applicable, including name of legislative chamber, district number or description, and date of election.
  • Partisan affiliation.
  • Brief recap of political history.
  • Brief recap of career outside of politics, if applicable, including current position/job.
  • Brief recap of educational background.
  • If the person is particularly notable for something, this should be mentioned in the introduction.

The lead section is essentially a brief biography of the person, with an emphasis on their political situation and current political seat or aspirations.


The introductory section should also include an infobox. The infobox will ideally include a photograph of the incumbent or candidate, although photos can only be included:

  • If the photograph is available under some form of copyleft licensing.
  • If the photograph is in the public domain.
  • If you specifically obtain permission to use the photo from the copyright holder.

See Ballotpedia:Image permissions for a list by state of which images of legislators can legally be uploaded and used on Ballotpedia.


The introduction of each state legislative profile should describe the person's current or most recent political position. It is recommended that writers use the provided templates for this sentence.

For incumbents:

For candidates:

  • Candidates who have unsuccessfully run for office in the past should have that information detailed in the introduction.

The lead section should also include brief recaps of the person's prior political history and any leadership positions held.


The biography section should contain any information about a politician's education, work history, military service, or other similar historical information. It is recommended that writers use the provided templates for this sentence.

Ribs earned his B.S. in education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990 and his M.A. in education from Ohio State University in 1992. His professional experience includes working as a history teacher at River Valley High School, salesman at Boss Equipment, Inc., and shop foreman at Wisconsin Garage Door Manufacturer. Ribs served as a Lieutenant in the United States Army from 1980 to 1990.

Political leanings

If the person's political leanings are such that they have drawn comment from the press or reliable observers, this information can be included in the lead section, and expanded on in the "policy positions" section of the article.

For example, you might indicate in the lead section information such as:

  • "John Doe is widely regarded as one of the most fiscally conservative members of the state senate."
  • "John Doe is widely regarded as a leading force with the progressive caucus in the state assembly."
  • The (state newspaper) ranked John Doe as the most liberal member of the state senate in each of the last 5 senate sessions."


See also