Sneaking around snapping “selfies” with an unsuspecting governor wasn’t part of House Page Julia Horman’s official legislative duties.
More like a perk.
Julia – a Hillcrest High School senior and the daughter of Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Wendy Horman – fulfilled her high school senior project by serving as a House page.
Even though she goes to school in Idaho Falls, spending time at the Statehouse is nothing new to Julia. Last year, she transferred to Borah High School during the session to stay close during mom’s first session in office.
She enjoyed a great sideline seat last year, but Julia was in the middle of the action this year.
“It’s just been a really incredible experience,” she said. “It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, it wasn’t always easy to keep up with my homework. But I have absolutely no regrets.”
One of the best parts of the life of a page is bonding with other pages.
They attended legislative pizza parties.
And challenged themselves to take cellphone photos of themselves with Gov. Butch Otter.
“It’s been really interesting, we’re all from different parts of the state,” Julia said. “It’s really been fun to get to know people who have an interest in this kind of stuff, and are also very different and grew up somewhere else. It’s a different perspective.”
Each year, the state hires a couple dozen legislative pages. Each must be between 17 and 19 and obtain permission from school administrators to miss six weeks of classes. On top of that, they are responsible for their own housing in Boise and typically work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, while keeping up with homework and assignments.
Under the supervision of the sergeant at arms, pages assist legislators and committee secretaries. They set up hearing rooms, take attendance, distribute bills back and forth and help take notes.
The experience of being surrounded by 105 lawmakers changed Julia’s views on politics and politicians.
“The stereotypical politician you think about is so self-seeking and self-centered, they’re just here for themselves,” Julia said. “Honestly, there isn’t a single person over here like that. They are truly here to represent their district.”
With this experience under her belt, Julia understands state government better than many adults.
“I fell like I actually know what (lawmakers) are talking about,” she said. “(Last year) I just kind of smiled and had a general understanding about it. I actually know what they’re talking about this year.”
For her senior project, Julia is preparing an eight- to 10-page paper relying on hours of interviews with Lt. Gov. Brad Little and others about their views on leadership.
Next year, Julia plans to attend college and is interested in a field that will allow her to develop her growing interest in writing.
And knowing that there is a long line of successful former pages, she hasn’t ruled out a career involving politics or government.
“Everyone says you turn into a political junkie after being a page,” Julia said. “ I can see that happening.”
Further reading: House Page Julia Horman writes a first-person account of her experience in the Legislature for Idaho Education News.