OLYMPIA—River Rohter, a senior at Washington Preparatory School in Bothell, served as a page for the Washington State Senate the week of Feb. 6. Sen. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell) sponsored his week in 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.
Rohter had been interested in the program for a long time but was only now able to apply because of COVID.
“I chose to apply because I had interest in politics and history and economics. My history teacher, who was the one who’s really encouraged me to come, said that I would enjoy it and I was looking forward to it,” he said. “Freshman year, obviously COVID shut that down, and so when I received an e-mail from my history teacher that they were making an exception, I was quite excited, and I applied right away.”
Rohter has greatly enjoyed the program and said that he has most enjoyed having a direct view on government.
“I have to say my favorite part is just being on the Senate floor when they’re in session,” he said. “Just sitting there, watching it all work. This is the stuff that you hear about, the bills, and just being there when it’s happening, it was really cool.”
Part of the program is mock committees, where pages write and debate their own bills. Rohter wrote his bill on creating a land value tax.
“A land value tax is a way of taxing based on the unimproved value of the land,” he said. “I should mention that it’s a progressive tax and that as you get wealthier you pay more, and so the idea was to alleviate the tax burden on lower income residents and pass that on to those who can afford those taxes.”
Stanford said that he enjoyed Rohter’s enthusiasm with the political process and is eager to see how he will “give back to his community.”
For more information about the Senate Page Program, contact SenatePageProgram@leg.wa.gov.