Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Sophomore Graham Hay got sent to the principal’s office one day last week — to meet his congressman about his summer job.
Starting June 10, Hay will have the rare honor of working as a page in the United States House of Representatives.
Hay is probably the only high school student around with a Dennis Hastert autograph. The Hood River Valley High School sophomore learned of his selection via a letter signed by U.S. Speaker of the House Hastert (R-Ill.)
“It’s pretty amazing,” Hay said. “It’s going to be really exciting to be in the nation’s capital. It’s definitely going to be something that will help me in the future.”
Hay applied for the position, and was nominated by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the Second District congressman from Hood River. Walden considered an essay Hay wrote as well as his outstanding academic record and community involvement.
Walden said Hay is the first House page from the Second District since he entered Congress in 1998, and one of only 48 nationwide, based on the Republicans’ current allotment. Walden met Hay in principal Ben Kolb’s office Thursday to give him a preview of what to expect.
“You’ll be right in the middle of it,” Walden told him. “This will be a really heavy work period in Washington, D.C.”
Hay will be busy on the floor during some of the lawmakers’ most critical work: appropriations bills that must be completed before the August break.
“He’ll be all over the Hill, and rubbing elbows with the nation’s leaders,” Walden said. He won’t work for Walden, but for the full House.
Hay could even be chosen to directly assist the Speaker — meaning he could ring the bell that calls the representatives to vote. Pages chosen for the job are among the few people allowed access to the Speaker’s box in the House chambers.
Hay, the son of Mary Ann and Kevin Hay, will work in Washington, D.C., from June 10 to June 28 and perform duties for members of Congress and their staffs that typically include mail delivery, answering phones, and other administrative tasks. House pages are paid approximately $1,344 per month to cover the cost of the page dormitory, meals and additional expenses.
“They give us a place to live — and we have to keep it clean. They inspect it twice a day,” Hay said.
But he’s used to keeping his house in order. Hay ranks first in his class at Hood River Valley High School and maintains a 4.0 grade point average. He has maintained a place on his school’s Honor Roll since 1997. Graham is a member of Future Business Leaders of America and participates in cross-country and track and field.
“Serving as a congressional page is a tremendous honor, and it was a privilege for me to nominate such an impressive young man to take part in the program,” said Walden. “Graham is going to have the opportunity to get an inside look at the legislative process and see the inner workings of Congress up close. I have no doubt he’ll represent his state, community, school and family well in our nation’s capital.”
Walden represents the Second Congressional District of Oregon, which includes 20 counties in southern, central and eastern Oregon. He is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as the Committee of Resources.