[r55] COLUMN: House page program accepting applications for 2015 session

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, December 19, 2014

House page program accepting applications for 2015 session

The holidays are upon us which can be a busy time of the year. Throughout the nation, families are decorating their homes, buying groceries for that holiday meal and some are purchasing those last minute gifts from local stores. As Hoosiers make their final preparations for Christmas Day, for state lawmakers, this is also a busy time of the year as we make our final preparations for the next legislative session.

As the excitement of session draws near, one of the things I look forward to the most every year is the opportunity to meet and work with students from our community. That is why I am pleased to announce the House Page Program is accepting applications for next session. 

Open to ages 13 to 18, the page program allows students to visit the Statehouse and observe an entire day of legislative activity. They will get to work closely with legislators and staff members, while learning more about the legislative process. This is a unique and rewarding experience, and I encourage our local students to take advantage of this opportunity and apply today. 

Students interested in becoming a page will be able to sit in on committee meetings, where bills are thoroughly discussed and debated. After a committee has reviewed the details of a bill, the committee will vote whether to hear it on the House floor where pages will also have access to. They will also be able to watch session activity and personally assist and interact with members of the House legislative staff. I enjoy working with the students that participate in this program and am always impressed by their eagerness to learn about how the Legislature operates. 

Along with observing session and committee meetings, students will tour the governor’s office, the House and Senate chambers and the Indiana Supreme Court. They will receive an excused absence from school, but since the page program provides a hands-on, learning experience, it serves as an incredible educational opportunity outside of the classroom. Although students are responsible for arranging transportation to and from the Statehouse, being able meet and work alongside their elected officials is worth the trip.  

Students interested in the page program should schedule their visit as soon as possible. When applying, I suggest choosing to serve on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays since those are the days we are in session. We do not have pages on Fridays, because legislators will typically travel home to spend time with their family, visit constituents or continue working at their full-time jobs. This is an invaluable experience for students, and spots tend to fill quickly, so I hope parents and teachers will use this information to encourage their students to apply. 

If interested in the House Page Program, please call 1-800-382-9841, visit http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/off_cms/page.html or email pages@iga.in.gov. Applicants are asked to provide two different dates when they are available to visit the Statehouse. I am looking forward to meeting the many students from District 55 this session, but in the meantime, I wish you and your family Happy Holidays!

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Rep. Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.