Hetrick gets closer look at the legislative process
Of Cabbages and Kings
This week we explore a slightly different view of Sonora Hetrick’s week as a page for the Washington State Legislature.
Last year Sonora’s father pastor Steve Hetrick, suggested she accompany him to the Capitol in Olympia, to see what it is like. Sonora said,” I was curious.” At home her friends said, “Be a page, go for it.” Now, having recently worked as a senate page during the first week of this year’s legislative session, Hetrick has gained some friendships, learned a lot of things and wondered about a few others.
The pages don’t receive a salary but they do get a stipend. They stay with and pay host families for their accommodation during the week. The host families also drive them to their destinations wherever they need to be. Two other pages were in the same host home where Hetrick stayed.
The workday is from 7 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. with an hour for lunch. Hetrick said, “Wednesday evening we were dropped off at a different place where we could relax and talk together.”
The pages weren’t assigned to only one person. Hetrick said, “We paged for all of them. I was a dispatch page which meant I went wherever I was needed.”
There was an opening ceremony on the first day. Hetrick said, “A judge read a proclamation and there were speakers. The room we were in had an uneven floor. I was afraid I would trip. You couldn’t tell where the floor tipped. It was designed that way. There were lots of formalities, a certain way to do everything. If a legislator stood up to speak, we pages had to kneel on the floor.”
Hetrick mentioned the security guards who are stationed in various places. They are very helpful in a variety of ways.
“For two hours during the day,” Hetrick said. “We had page school. We studied the three branches of government, parliamentary procedures, checks and balances. We had to research a problem, had a committee meeting and a mock hearing. We had to give our opinions on a subject and voted whether this “bill” would pass. It was hard work.
“If a senator needed something he called one of our supervisors. The supervisor sends a page. If you are the person standing right there you go!”
Hetrick’s remark about having to kneel on the floor makes a person wonder. Is it for the benefit of someone taking a picture to not accidentally film the top of a page’s head? And how about the floor with the hidden dips? Sounds like the background for a scary movie.
Maybe we should wait for answers until Sonora Hetrick herself is in the legislature. She calls a supervisor, “Send me a page pronto.” That’ll fix everything.
Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.