OLYMPIA – Siblings Aaron Lee and Chloe Lee served as pages in the Washington State Senate during the week of Feb. 17.
Pages are typically sponsored by the senator from their legislative district. Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) sponsored the siblings’ 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.
“Learning how to make our own bills and present them in our mock committee was really fun,” said Aaron. “I also enjoyed hearing other pages present their own bills. We were able to collaborate with our bills and pick and choose the best parts of them to make a better bill, much the same way that legislators do here.”
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.
“I found going on the Senate floor to be the most interesting thing I did this week,” said Chloe. “Hearing and watching the senators debate different issues was fascinating, especially because learning about it in school is much different than actually watching them do it in person right in front of me.”
Aaron, 16, is in 10th grade and Chloe, 14, is in 9th grade. They both attend Liias’ alma mater, Kamiak High School in Mukilteo.
“I’m always inspired by the next generation of young leaders I get to meet in my role as a lawmaker,” said Liias. “I’m glad Chloe and Aaron were able to spend the week in Olympia as Senate pages. It was nice to get updates about my alma mater and to hear that many of the wonderful teachers I had at Kamiak are still teaching and doing great work in our community.”
Chloe enjoys playing her violin, volleyball, and volunteering with key club. Aaron is active in Bothell Youth Court, debate club, and is on the varsity tennis team.
“Being here has had a positive impact on me,” said Aaron. “Seeing the inner workings of how this place runs has given me a new appreciation for the legislative process. Getting to experience this short window of public service has shown me that there are a lot of options for how I could make a difference here in the future.”
“At first, I wasn’t really thinking about a career in public service,” said Chloe. “But watching how everyone here works together to make everyone’s lives better has made me think more about being a part of this place. I am especially interested in the possibility of coming back and working as a legislative intern while I am in college to see if this is really something that I want to pursue for a career.”