Aliana Pineda, a sophomore from Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, served as a page for the Washington State Senate the week of Feb. 6. Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) sponsored her week at the Legislature.
The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to find out how state government works. During a week-long interactive learning experience, students get a firsthand look at the legislative process and get to explore the Capitol campus by delivering papers for Senate staff.
“I’m really interested into politics. And I just felt like it would be a really good experience, like being in the Capitol building and like seeing how floor action works and like how assistants and senators run the place during the session.”
Pineda said her favorite part of the program has been going on the Senate floor.
“Senate floor has been my favorite part because you get to see how the senators interact with each other and you get to see them debate,” she said. “It’s the closest you are going to get to other senators. Even our teacher isn’t allowed on the floor, but we are. It’s kind of interesting to see how they run the floor and how it works, and the bills that they propose. I’d like to be a senator in the future.”
Part of the program is mock committees, where pages propose and debate their own legislation. Pineda wrote her bill on taxing vape products.
“We wrote about implementing a new tax on vapor accessories and increasing the tax that was already implemented based off cartridges,” she said. “And so we added a tax on vapor accessories that all goes towards anti-vaping campaigns and healthcare.”
Dhingra said that she enjoyed her time with Pineda: “I’m looking forward to calling her ‘Senator’ one day!”
For more information about the Senate Page Program, contact SenatePageProgram@leg.wa.gov.