The page program has other important purposes that will remain unfulfilled with its termination. Because pages get an insider's look into the actions of Congress, they regularly tell their friends and family from back home the details of current proceedings in Congress that don't always get reported in the media.
The end of the program brings many questions. Who will fulfill pages' current responsibilities? Will unpaid intern positions be created, giving only better-off collegiate students employment? What role can high school students play in their government? Who will follow in the footsteps of giants such as Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) — the dean of the House and a former page — when there are no more pages?
Countless pages have found inspiration in the program and have gone on to successful careers in law, politics and business to become judges, governors, Members of Congress and CEOs.
With the fiscal hardships we are facing, it seems a false economy to deprive America of such a valuable experience for future leaders. Can small-town students with no experience in politics still become leaders of political thought?
John Paul Cassil is a management/entrepreneurship major and political science minor at Clemson University. He served as a House page in 2007.
Roll Call has launched a new feature, Hill Navigator, to advise congressional staffers and would-be staffers on how to manage workplace issues on Capitol Hill. Please send us your questions anything from office etiquette, to handling awkward moments, to what happens when the work life gets too personal. Submissions will be treated anonymously.