Friday, July 31, 2009

Praise for Lee’s Summit’s first House Page

This summer, I was very proud to nominate and sponsor the first House Page from Lee’s Summit Missouri, Ms. Abigail Allen. Her selection is full of firsts in that she is also my very first nominee to have served as a Page since my election to Congress.

In early July, Ms. Allen donned the navy blazer of the House Pages and joined the ranks of a very special group of students. Pages run errands, deliver flags, transport messages, raise and lower our flag over the Capitol to begin and end our daily business and every four years, they are entrusted with transporting the Electoral College ballots from the Senate to the House Chamber to tally the votes for our President. These juniors in high school get a firsthand look at the inner workings of Congress.

The Page Program is invaluable to our nation. Without the House Pages, the Capitol simply would not function. The nearly 100 high school students, who serve as pages for both the House and Senate, are an integral part of a system that keeps Congress running. Originally, Pages filled ink boxes and sand shakers for Members. They stocked the Chamber lamps with oil and kept candles on Member’s desks lit for night sessions. They started fires and filled the wood boxes to keep the offices warm.

Today, while their errands have changed, their importance has only increased. These young, bright Americans, like Ms. Allen, are part of an illustrious, rarified group, many of whom have gone on to become Congressmen, Senators, Governors, Cabinet Secretaries and captains of industry. As we see the Pages moving quickly through the complex in their navy blazers, we all wonder which of these young scholars will go on to be the next Congressman John Dingell, Bill Gates, Bill Owen or even Tiger Woods — all of whom served as Pages.

Tomorrow, Ms. Allen will return home to prepare for her senior year at Blue Springs South High School. She will be able to share with her classmates an in-depth knowledge of Congress few others have been able to acquire.

Ms. Allen is a member of her school’s cross country team, track and field team, Young Democrats and most importantly a member of the National Honor Society. She is also a member of the St. James United Methodist Church Youth Group in Kansas City, Missouri.

It has been my pleasure to have Ms. Allen as a House Page. I can say with zero hesitation that she has represented the Fifth District and her hometown well.