Junior heading to Des Moines

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Randy Tapia, a junior at West Liberty High School, has been chosen as a page for the Iowa Senate, an honor that hasn't been seen in West Liberty for some time.

"I'm thrilled to be chosen," he said, "It will really open my eyes to politics. Since I don't know much about the government; this will really help."

Every year high school juniors and seniors from Iowa are chosen to help at the state capital in Des Moines during its legislative period from January to April.

They assist the members of the Senate, House of Representatives and Legislative Service Agency (LSA) with day-to-day tasks. Through it, students learn firsthand how the government works.

"I'm looking forward to the experience," added Tapia, "It will feel like going to college a bit, so I think I'll like that."

Tapia will help in the Senate Monday through Thursday starting Jan. 13. He'll drive to and stay in Des Moines during the week, and come home each Friday.

It's a busy schedule; however, the high school will work with Tapia in order to keep him on par with his education while he works in Des Moines.

West Liberty business Local Grounds first informed him of the program. He filled out an application and was called in for an interview a few months later.

"I'm not really nervous now, but I was when they first called me in for an interview," he said. "It went well I think, it was a lot easier then I thought it was going to be."

The program called him back to offer the paid position and Tapia immediately accepted. It may only last one session, but he is excited for the opportunity.

Specifically, he'll sit in during legislative committee meetings and debates, meet government officials, hand out copies and even get officials coffee. Its a low-radar position that will give Tapia a behind-the-scenes view of the Senate.

While it may be far away from his home in West Liberty, he's ready to make the commitment. The program only chooses around 40 applicants a year. Of those the Senate receives 15 while the House accepts 20.

The program looks for high achieving students with good recommendations. One thing it doesn't look at is a student's political party.

Tapia has already met some of the other pages for this year during an initial trip to Des Moines. Also, it's a formal position that requires formal wear.

"I had to get a suit," said Tapia. "We have to wear a suit everyday."
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