For students interested in politics or learning more about how state government operates, working as a Page for the Iowa House of Representatives or Senate is a great opportunity. Along with an up-close look at the inner-workings of state government, student pages meet legislators, sit in on legislative committee meetings and debate and work with other students from all over the state.
Each year the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa Senate employ Iowa high school juniors and seniors to serve as Pages for the legislative session which begins in January and (usually) ends in mid-April.
Duties of the House and Senate Pages vary slightly, but generally Pages provide assistance to Representatives or Senators and staff by assisting with tasks such as the switchboard, delivering messages, distributing legislation, assisting committee chairpersons or sorting amendments. Pages are paid and many schools grant credit for a student’s work in the Legislature.
When the 86th General Assembly convened in January, Union High School junior Payton Sash was in Des Moines, having been selected to work as a Page after successfully completing the application process. The experience working four days a week in Des Moines while taking an abbreviated load of classes at Union was one she’d gladly do again. At the conclusion of her duties, she reflected on the experience:
“This past October, I had the opportunity to apply to become a House of Representatives Page for the 86th Iowa General Assembly. After completing an application and an interview, I received the great news that I had been one of seventeen selected to serve the Iowa House!
Starting in January, I began my work. Every day I completed a variety of tasks, ranging from assisting in meetings, filing and delivering bills and amendments, and completing tasks asked by the representatives among other things. I have also been able to meet and discuss issues with the representatives and experience debate as they discussed major issues that affect our great state.
It has certainly been an interesting session with many important bills that affect our state being debated and amended, induding issues like water quality, education funding, and cannabis oil.
This experience has been very eye opening for me and I have learned every day as well as gained memories for a lifetime. I would encourage everyone to apply!” she wrote.
With her senior year of high school still ahead of her, Payton can envision a time when she will return to state government in perhaps a different role.
“It made me realize that although I’m still very interested in politics, it is better to go into a different field of study instead; for me that will be something in agriculture. Very few representatives actually have a political science major, so although I will consider running [for office] one day, I don’t foresee myself majoring in it.”