Every year when legislators descend upon the Capitol and go to work on behalf of Iowans, they are joined by some of Iowa’s brightest and most talented high school students. These students spend the session (or half session) as Legislative pages – serving in the House, Senate and Legislative Services Agency. As the Speaker of the House, I have an office page that assists me and my staff, his primary responsibility being running soundboard in the chamber. I’ve asked him to share his perspective on being a page with you.
Hello, my name is Seth Wester. I am a senior at South O’Brien High School in Paullina, Iowa. I currently am living about four hours away from my high school and home. I am the Page of the Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, Rep. Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha).
I first heard about the Iowa Legislature Page Program when I visited the Capitol with my eighth grade class. Interestingly enough, that trip changed the course of my senior year. When I first saw the capitol building I was amazed. The dome was radiant. I knew when our tour guide showed us the Iowa House Chamber that I would someday be involved with politics. The tour guide mentioned that there was a Page Program. Ever since that trip, applying to be a page was in the back of my mind.
As the Page of the Speaker of the House I have many responsibilities. I am the oil that keeps the office machine going. Here are just a few of my duties:
My favorite part of my job is seeing public service in action. The bills filed, moved, and debated on the House Floor by House Representatives. They want to serve their people. From legislation on abortion to budget cuts, I have seen and heard the passion with which Iowa’s elected-officials debate. Issue after issue, bill after bill, debate after debate, I am more proud to be an Iowan then I was before having this job.
Even though I am Page of the Speaker, I work closely with Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (R-Garner) and House Republican staff. Being an office page, my hours fluctuate depending on the amount of debate time. Pages are paid so they can afford to commute and live in and around the Des Moines area. The Page experience is supposed to teach students about government and working in the real world.
Being a page has taught me a lot about politics. I have followed bills from when they were first read and filed to when they were voted on. I do not think that I would ever have understood how much effort legislation takes, if I had not become a page. If anyone is interested in politics I would recommend contacting the Chief Clerk’s Office of the Iowa House. Applications should be online this summer by June 15.
Thank you for reading. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns to share with Kraig, you can contact him at (515) 281-3521 or firstname.lastname@example.org