During each legislative session, we are joined by some of Iowa’s best and brightest high school students from around the state to serve as pages for the Iowa Legislature. The House Majority Leader is privileged to have their own office page each year. This year I selected Katelyn Terhark to serve as my page. I have asked her to share some insight on her experience during session below.
Hello, my name is Katelyn Terhark and I have had the privilege of working for House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer as a page this legislative session. I am a senior in high school from Corwith and I plan to attend North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota to earn a degree in Education with Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification.
In February of 2011, I was able to job shadow Representative Linda Upmeyer and from that I got the idea of being a part of the page program. I thought it would be a great opportunity to fully experience what it is like to work at the Capitol while learning the legislative process and watching representatives enact their bills. Last summer I began the application process and interviewed for the job in November. There was an additional interview for the positions as an office page working for the Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority Leader, and the Chief Clerk’s Office.
While working in Des Moines, I have stayed with my older brother and his family who graciously decided to take me in for the session. In a typical week I work from Monday until Thursday and each day is filled with several jobs. As the Majority Leader’s page I work in her office and do assignments from responding to phone calls from constituents to taking photos of any visitors for the House Republicans. Both I and the Speaker’s page work on press releases for the photos that go out to the newspapers around the state. I also help write letters to constituents from Representative Upmeyer’s district and tabulate responses from a survey that went out to her constituents.
There have been many unique opportunities with this job including attending bill signings with the Governor, going to press conferences, and best of all developing valuable relationships with Iowa’s elected officials. There is constant excitement on the House of Representatives floor and during debates I help run the soundboard along with the Speaker’s page.
Being a page has definitely given me an insider’s view on what occurs on a daily basis at the Capitol. The floor pages that work for all 100 representatives delivering messages from lobbyists and doing various errands are a special part of the Iowa House and it has been especially rewarding having this experience with them.
It has given me better knowledge of the amount of perseverance it takes to see a bill reach the Governor’s desk, in addition to how important it is to have the ability to work with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. The work done by all of the legislators here is extraordinary and I believe they are working to represent Iowans’ best interest. It is something I wish every Iowan could see and I feel very proud to live in this state and to be part of that process.
For any high school junior or senior, this is something that would be a great part of your high school education and I would highly recommend contacting the Chief Clerk’s Office of the Iowa House. Applications should be online by June 15 this summer.
Katelyn has done a wonderful job representing the Majority Leader’s office around the Capitol. I was so honored when she agreed to take advantage of this opportunity to experience state government at work. Please continue to contact me (or Katelyn) at 515-281-4618 or email@example.com.