Jillian Baer, 14, served as a page for the Washington State Senate the week of January 9. Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) sponsored their week at the Legislature.

The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to learn how the state government works. The interactive learning experience lets students experience the Legislature directly by delivering papers for Senate staff, as well as participate in classes that teach about the state Legislature.

Baer has an active interest in politics, hoping to major in political science in college. Paging is something that they have wanted to do since they were 7 years old, and they have greatly enjoyed being able to meet many of the figures they have been looking up to for years.

“It’s been cool seeing all these people that I’ve been admiring the last couple of years and getting to talk to them about my thoughts and my opinions,” Baer said. “They aren’t larger than life figures, they’re people that you can just talk to.”

Part of the program has pages write their own bills and discuss them in a mock committee. Baer chose to write a bill about breed-specific dog bans.

“A lot of areas in the country have bans or restrictions on if you can own pit bulls because of their reputation for being aggressive, but I have a pit bull myself and she’s literally the sweetest dog ever,” Baer said. “It was really disheartening to learn that Washington has some of those restrictions, so I decided to do a bill about that.”

Sen. Dhingra had lunch with Baer on the last day of their visit. The senator said, “I’m impressed with their interest in the realm of politics.”

Senator Dhingra with Page Jillian Baer. January 13, 2023.

Senator Dhingra with Page Jillian Baer. January 13, 2023.

Baer is currently a first-year at Woodinville High School, where they participate in the journalism, poetry, and philosophy clubs. They also enjoy watching The West Wing.

For more information about the Senate Page Program, contact SenatePageProgram@leg.wa.gov.