OLYMPIA – During the week of April 20, Allison Bignall of Vancouver served as a page in the Washington State Senate. Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, sponsored Bignall’s weeklong experience in the Legislature.
“It was a privilege to sponsor Allison this week,” said Cleveland. “She was a bright and courageous young women and I am sure she has a bright future ahead of her.”
During the week pages assist senators and staff, attend lectures with guest speakers and go to page school where they create their own bills in a mock committee setting. Bignall drafted a bill that would affect teen labor laws.
“Under this bill, teens could chose to work up to 30 hours a week,” Bignall said. “It was fun working on my own bill, and seeing what senators go through when they fight for what they’re passionate about.”
When Bignall heard about the page program, she found support from her teachers and her sponsoring senator. Bignall was in foster care for three years, and said her senator offered her resources and guidance.
“Sen. Cleveland put me in touch with a legislative assistant in the House who went through foster care, and she was very concerned about the foster care system,” Bignall said.
Bignall was optimistic about her time in Olympia.
“It was a lot of errands, but there are so many monumental things to see around here. One afternoon me and the other pages went downtown to the old Capitol building,” said Bignall. “I am so thankful for this opportunity and glad to be here. It’s been an unforgettable experience.”
Bignall, 16, is a junior at Union High School and also enjoys writing.