Graham Van Niman, 15, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of February 7th.
Pages are typically sponsored by the senator from their legislative district. Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) sponsored Graham’s week in the Legislature.
The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to find out how state government works. The interactive learning experience includes classes focused on topics like budget writing and how a bill becomes a law, which culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting. The educational experience is furthered by guest speakers.
“The most interesting thing that I did this week was getting a behind-the-scenes look at how the government works,” Graham said. “It was really interesting to see the dynamics between the two parties on the floor. I also enjoyed working for my Senator here in the Capital. I’ve worked on her last two campaigns, so it’s been great to see how the governing side of all of this work is done.”
Pages also have the opportunity to work on the Senate floor. Their maroon coats and credentials allow them access to all parts of the Capitol Campus.
“The most enjoyable thing has been getting to know everyone who works at the Capital, it’s really put a human face on all of the people who work here,” he added. “Meeting everyone from the people who supply paperclips all the way to the members has been a really fun experience.
“This experience has absolutely had a positive impact on me. You see so much on TV that isn’t great but coming here it’s been completely different from what the media reports about. I think that I would love to come back and continue to be a part of this process.”
Graham is in 10th grade at Redmond High School. In his free time, he enjoys DECA and Boy Scouts.
For more information about the Senate Page Program, contact SenatePageProgram@leg.wa.gov