Bolles students spend summer working in nation’s capital

Sen. Bill Nelson with Elle Walters

Sen. Bill Nelson with Elle Walters

Two Bolles students spent three weeks this summer in Washington, D.C. as U.S. Senate pages. Elle Walters, Class of 2019, was a page for Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Hilton Ashby, Class of 2020 worked for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. The students assisted their senators each day with everything from prepping “dailies” to making “amendment runs.”

“An amendment run is where you print out 14 copies of an amendment and run each of them to a different room or office in the Capitol as fast as possible,” Walters said, recalling the challenge of printing and running a 1,200-page amendment that required use of every single printer in the Hart Building. Walters said she has always wanted to be a page because she grew up in a very politically-centered family and was excited to garner firsthand knowledge about government. “I learned the government is this country’s only hope at success and also how important checks and balances are,” said Walters, who divides her time between the Riverside Avondale area and the beach.

Hilton Ashby with Sen. Rand PaulThe Senate page program began in 1829 when a 9-year-old boy named Grafton Hanson was appointed by Senator Daniel Webster. Today, pages must be at least 16 years old and must be appointed and sponsored by a senator. They come from all 50 states and it is rare to have two students from one school participating. Senate page duties consist primarily of delivery of correspondence and legislative material within the Congressional complex. Other duties include preparing the chamber for Senate sessions and carrying bills and amendments to the desk.

Ashby, a Mandarin resident, thoroughly enjoyed the time he spent working for Senator Paul. He wanted to be a page to better understand how Senators represent the people and conduct business. In addition to making amendment runs and helping Senators prepare for their morning presentations, Ashby said a job highlight was being a “subway page.”

“Subway page is where one page must go down to the subway and mark when senators are arriving and leaving during a vote,” Ashby explained. He learned that senators are usually in the chamber for only a brief time during votes and often speak to just a few other senators and the presiding officer, he said.

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