- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2006


Daniel Webster appointed the first Senate page in 1829 when he was a senator. Since then, thousands of young men, and later women, have worked in the halls of the Capitol, having daily contact with the people who make the nation’s laws and seeing the events that shape history.

There are currently 72 House pages, 48 selected by Republicans and 24 by Democrats, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service. In the Senate, Republicans chose 18 pages and Democrats chose 12.

The pages live in dormitories on Capitol Hill and work in Congress for one semester during their junior year in high school. Senate pages are paid at an annual rate of $20,491 and House pages at $18,817.

House pages pay a residence hall fee of $400 a month, which includes five breakfasts and seven dinners a week.

The House pages begin their day in a school located in the Library of Congress, at 6:45 a.m. After classes they head to the Capitol, where they act primarily as messengers, carrying documents and pieces of legislation between the two chambers and to member offices.

The House pages are recognizable by their navy jackets, dark gray slacks or skirts, long-sleeved white shirts and black shoes. Senate pages wear navy blue suits and white shirts.

The House first began using the services of pages in 1842. The first women were appointed as pages in 1971.

In the House, the program is run by the Office of the Clerk and supervised by a page board consisting of members of the House as well as the clerk and the sergeant at arms. The Senate sergeant at arms supervises the Senate program.

The program has traditionally been a starting point for young people interested in making a career of politics. Several senior members of Congress, including Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat; Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat, and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican, served as pages.

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