Week 1

On January 11, 2008, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Week 1 of the 2008 session.

It is hard to believe that it has been a year already since my last report, but session has started and things are getting moving at a fast pace. This session is the short session (35days) and it really pushes legislation to be handed in early and really gets the committee going quickly. Appropriations had already listened to 16 hours of testimony consisting of 7 agencies or departments. But instead of boring you with those details I thought it would be interesting to get a unique perspective on the session, so I asked my daughter Molly, who is my page, to share her experience with you. Hopefully it will be interesting and also encourage other students to consider the page program in future years.

For the first two weeks of session, I, Molly Rausch, am a page for my father, Val Rausch. I have been busy the whole week. From taking phone messages to making appointments, I have had plenty to do.

The legislative session started on Tuesday, January 8th, but the pages were hard at work two days before session began. We had to report on Sunday at 3:00pm. Here we met our page advisor, Val Melmer, and got a tour of the capital. It was a short meeting but very productive.

Monday was our first official day of work. There were still no legislators around, but we were busy all day dumping bill books and getting the capital ready for session on Tuesday. We learned what we were in charge of and got a better understanding of what was expected of us.

The rest of the week was full of activity. Every page is assigned six or seven representatives. We are in charge of getting all their paper work ready for them and getting their mail. If they have a special task for us, we complete it.

What’s a typically day for a page? Well, our mornings are pretty low key. We have to report to the Page Advisor office in the capital by 7:30 every morning. The first thing we do is hand out the daily calendar. Once that is finished, some report to committee meetings and others report to phone duty. I have worked both. In the house, there are two pages working the phones. Because there aren’t a lot of phone calls, we take turns running around and helping our legislators. We take shifts for lunch. The first group eats at around 11:00 and the rest eat at noon. We are allowed to eat where ever we like. For those who want to eat at a restaurant, Pierre offers a large variety of food. For those who want to stay at the capital, there is a little café in the basement of the capital.

After lunch is when we really get busy. During session, the pages are in charge of a row, if any one in our row waves at us, we attend to them. This year has been really neat. Usually they ask us to get them coffee or get a copy of a bill, but this year they are giving us more complicated missions. They are relying on us more, which really makes you feel significant. In the past, they have had the interns do jobs like making appointments and summarizing court cases, but they have been asking more and more pages to do these kinds of jobs. Our Advisor is really impressed with how fast we are catching on and how many compliments the legislators are giving her. She said that they are giving us really difficult jobs, but they are impressed with how well we are doing them.

After session, we wrap up the day by finishing up phones and getting the calendars all laid out for tomorrow. We are usually out of there an hour after session adjourns, but if there are meetings we are in charge of sitting in on them. This week appropriations have met after caucus so we have gotten out of here at about five every day.

I am enjoying my time out here so much. It is an amazing experience. I not only get to see hands on how my government is run, but I also get so see why my dad loves it out here so much. Everyone is really nice, and if we have a question they are more than willing to answer it for us. Being out here is kind of addicting. The energy of government is fascinating. Time is flying out here in Pierre, and I am enjoying every minute of it!

As always please contact me with any of your legislative concerns at 605-880-5015 or valrausch@hotmail.com or rep.rausch@state.sd.us Thank you and God Bless, Val

 

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