United States Senate Page
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A United States Senate Page (Senate Page or simply Page) is a non-partisan federal employee serving the United States Senate in Washington, DC. Despite the non-partisan affiliation, pages are typically divided to serve the party that appointed them.
In order to become a US Senate Page, one must first be nominated by a Senator, generally from his or her State. A candidate must be a 16 or 17 year-old high school junior (11th grade), with at least a 3.0 GPA. Summer pages can be either incoming or outgoing juniors and still have a GPA requirement of a 3.0. Processes for selection vary from senator to senator. Typically, a senator's office will require the applicant submit a transcript, resume, and various essays. The process is similar to that of selecting an office employee, and may include interview of final applicants by a board of review.
Students can apply for appointment to one of four terms: a four-month Fall semester (September-December), a five-month Spring semester (January-June), a three or four week June session, and a three or four week July session.
During the school year, there are up to 30 Pages. The majority appoints up to 16, while the minority appoints up to 14.
Uniform and appearance
Because US Senate Pages are required to wear uniforms while on the job, they are some of the most recognized employees of the Senate. The uniform consists of a navy blue suit, a white, long sleeve, traditional dress shirt, a name badge, Page insignia lapel pin, and a plain, navy tie (males only).
As expected of most Senate employees, Pages are especially required to maintain a neat, professional appearance. Boys must be clean-shaven with hair kept short and neat, falling above their ears. Girls must also have their hair neat and kept out of their face. No extraneous jewelry is to be worn. If a page's appearance is not deemed satisfactory during the work day he or she may be sent back to Webster Hall immediately. Especially for males, any facial hair, such as a mustache, will result in immediate dismissal from the Capitol Building.
Residence and free time
US Senate Pages currently reside at the Daniel Webster Senate Page Residence. This facility was previously a funeral home and was reconfigured in order to provide Pages with a home away from home during their time in Washington. Administration and staff include the Page Program Director, Administrative Assistant, four resident Proctors, and one non-resident Proctor.
The living quarters cover two floors, one for male Pages, the other for female Pages. Each floor has a day room for social activity. All Pages share furnished rooms with other Pages and each room is designed for four or six occupants. Each room has closet space, a bathroom, and a single telephone. The Senate Page School, laundry facilities and a kitchen are located on the basement level.
The program provides the pages with two meals per day, seven days per week. Breakfast is provided at the residence. Lunch is provided on weekdays through a meal card at the Senate Cafeterias. On Saturdays, lunch or dinner is usually provided through a voucher for a meal at Union Station, or if the Pages are on a field trip, lunch or dinner will be provided on the trip. On Sundays, the program provides dinner at the residence, or goes out to a restaurant.
The United States Capitol Police maintains a 24-hour post at Webster Hall as well as outside foot and car patrols. Their responsibility is to provide security for the facility and its occupants and to monitor access to the building. Webster Hall is monitored by a security alarm system.
When not at school or at work, Pages are given much liberty with their free time. Pages are subject to a strict curfew (generally 9:00 p.m. on school nights and 10:00 p.m. during the weekend) and are expected to maintain high standards. While Pages are not permitted to bring personal vehicles with them to the District of Columbia, they are encouraged to use the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
On occasional weekends, free from school or work obligations, Pages spend their time working on school assignments, touring the many attractions in the DC area or simply relaxing from a long week's work. For holidays, Pages return home for Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks; the residence is closed during these periods.
The Senate Sergeant at Arms is responsible for Webster Hall.
Before the move to Webster Hall, both the House and Senate Pages shared a living space in the former House Office Building Annex #1 (which has since been torn down).
US Senate Pages (who serve during either of the semester programs) attend school located in the lower level of Webster Hall. The US Senate Page School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The Page School requires each student to enroll in four classes, in the various subjects of mathematics, science, English, and social studies. Foreign language tutoring is available. Usually the students receive 3 to 4 hours of homework each night. If they do not maintain at least a 75% average in each class, they are subject to dismissal.
Each week day, classes begin at precisely 6:15 a.m.. Class length varies, depending upon the daily schedule of the Senate. Generally, school ends one hour and 15 minutes before the Senate convenes. If the Senate does not convene, or not before 11:00 a.m., school ends at 9:45. It is possible to have classes as short as 20 minutes, or no classes at all. This is affected by what time the Senate convenes or what time it adjourned the previous day.
The Page school supervises Student Government and the preparation of a yearbook. It also administers Page class rings, which have the Senate emblem and session of the Congress in place of a typical high school's mascot.
Pages are also required to participate in school field trips. Run by the Senate Page School, they are conducted approximately one Saturday a month to sites in or around Washington. These field trips are usually at historically oriented landmarks in the mid-Atlantic area (i.e. Liberty Bell, Philadelphia; DuPont Mills, Delaware; etc.)
Nancy Erickson, The Secretary of the Senate, is responsible for the United States Senate Page School.
Prior to the page residence being moved to Webster Hall, the US Senate Page School was housed in the attic of the Library of Congress.
During the summer sessions only, many pages live in either their homes or the homes of their relatives in the Washington, D.C. area. These pages fulfill the same duties as the residential summer pages, except that they arrive at 9:00 AM and depart at 6:00 PM regardless of the action of the Senate that day (residential pages are required to stay until after the Senate adjourns for the day). Commuter pages are allowed to participate in field trips with the other pages.
The Page's work life revolves around the Capitol. A Page serves the party of his/her/their appointing Senator. Pages are employed by the Sergeant at Arms. The supervision of the Pages at work has been delegated to the cloakrooms.
Senate Pages play an important role in the daily operation of the Senate. Page duties consist primarily of delivery of correspondence and legislative material within the Capitol Complex. Other duties include preparing the Senate Chamber for sessions, taking messages for Senators or calling them to the phone, carrying bills and amendments from the presiding officer's desk. Pages also retrieve lecterns, easels, and water for Senators and clerks.
When the Senate is in session for important business, filibusters, and emergency situations, Pages are required to work into the early hours of the morning.
When the Senate is not in session, Pages work from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Pages are compensated $25,605 per annum, from which are deducted federal and local (based upon the individual page's permanent residence) taxes and a $780 per month residence fee (unless they are a commuter page).
The job of page comes with many perks. These include, but are not limited to:
- Watching the political action up close.
- Access to most areas of the Capitol (such as the Senate Chamber, Marble Room, cloakrooms, and Senate lobby), a perk that many other Senate employees don't have.
- Boarding on Capitol Hill with teenagers from all around the country.
- A chance to watch joint sessions of Congress, as well as the State of the Union Address.
- The opportunity to make use of the Library of Congress, United States Senate Library, and other facilities in the Capitol.
- A chance to tour and see much of what Washington, DC as well as surrounding areas and states have to offer.
Notable Former Senate Pages
- Bobby Baker - senior staffer to Lyndon B. Johnson.
- Amy Carter
- Gore Vidal - an American writer and public intellectual known for his essays, novels, and Broadway plays.
- Hannah Pingree, 1992 (later, Speaker, Maine House of Representatives, 2008 - )
- Donald Anderson - Clerk of the House 1987-1995
- Dan Boren - Summer 1989 (later U.S. Congressman)
- Thomas M. Davis, 1963-1967 - (later U.S. Congressman)
- Christopher Dodd (later a Senator, D-CT)
- Jim Kolbe (later a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, R-AZ)
- Robby Mook
- Mark Pryor (later a Senator, D-AR)
- Spiro Agnew (later a Vice President)
- Mike Lee (later a Senator, R-UT)
- United States House of Representatives Page
- Canadian Senate Page Program
- Canadian House of Commons Page Program
- Amy Goldstein and Elizabeth Williamson (21 October 2006). "In Interviews, Pages Say Foley Befriended Wide Circle". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-11-03.
- "Boren statement on Mark Foley investigation". Archived from the original on 2006-10-30. Retrieved 2006-11-03.
- Jonathan Weisman and James V. Grimaldi, "Kolbe Matter Is Referred to House Ethics Panel: Allegations Involve Contact With Male Former Pages, Washington Post, October 18, 2006
- Senator Reid speaks about the Senate Page Program
- CRS Report for Congress: Pages of the United States Congress:Selection, Duties, and Program Administration
- History of the Senate Page School
- First Female Page Appointed
- Oral Interview with J. Franklin Little, Page 1910-1912
- C-SPAN Q&A about Pages