The page position can be traced back to the 1850 Senate Journal. A dispute over the hiring of session staff led to the appointment of one Senate Page. The number of pages eventually grew with the increased work load in the legislature. In 1971, the Senate added messengers. Members of the Senate wanted to maintain the tradition of electing pages, so the appointment of messengers was placed with the Clerk of the Senate. Though the role of pages/messengers has changed greatly in the age of technology, the tradition of service remains an integral part of legislative operations.
Assignments, Decorum, and Expectations
Senate Pages/Messengers work from 8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Friday. Area assignments are scheduled weekly to encourage mentoring, job skill development and a deeper understanding of the legislative process. The work load is delegated by Senate Page Supervisors as requests are made to the Senate Page Room.
The chief duty of Senate Pages/Messengers is to run errands and assist the Senators during floor sessions and committee meetings. In addition, they answer telephones, retrieve bill copies from the bill room, sort and deliver mail, support the Clerk's Office, assist in the public information office, staff information desks and speak with visiting school groups or special guests. A rigorous, two-day orientation and training program is administered to help fulfill workplace responsibilities.
The Senate Page Program contains a community service project, professional development workshops and educational tours of nearby sites and museums. Together, the class will work through mock elections and committees in preparation for a mock session prior to graduating from the program.
Senate Pages/Messengers must maintain professional decorum at all times while employed with the Senate Clerk's Office. The Clerk of the Senate, Senators and staff expect exemplary behavior, a can-do attitude and a willingness to learn. Any infraction of the rules and code of conduct, as outlined in the program handbook, will result in disciplinary measures or dismissal from the program.
Accomodations and Study Hall
Senate Pages/Messengers receive a salary and per diem. Housing and chaperones are provided by the Senate Clerk's Office. A monitored study hall is mandatory for those who participate in the housing program. All Senate Pages/Messengers are responsible for meeting with school personnel prior to the start of session to establish a firm plan for obtaining and maintaining school assignments. Tutors are available to assist students with assignments from their schools; they do not assign work.
Application and Selection Process
The Senate elects eleven pages, one from each of the eleven congressional districts in Virginia. Additional pages are appointed by the leadership of the Senate to serve during each legislative session. Messengers are appointed by the Clerk of the Senate but receive the same pay and assignments. This process is very different than the House of Delegates Page Program, so decisions are typically released in mid-December. The Virginia General Assembly convenes on the second Wednesday in January, pursuant to the Constitution of Virginia. The legislature meets for 45 calendar days in odd numbered years and 60 calendar days in even numbered years. If you receive admission to the program, you are making a commitment to the entire session.
To be fully considered for a page/messenger position with the Senate of Virginia, an applicant must be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia with an A or B average in school. A completed, online application is required for consideration in the program. The application must include the following:
-A brief essay on why the applicant wants to serve as a Senate Page/Messenger.
-Three letters of recommendation from teachers, community leaders, civic organizations, etc. A letter of endorsement from a Senator or Delegate is not required.
-A completed school authorization form signed by the appropriate teachers and administrators. Completion of the school form indicates you discussed the commitment of this program with your school before applying.
Senate Pages/Messengers cannot be less than 13 or more than 14 years of age at the time of election or appointment (first day of session). They are elected or appointed for a term of one session and are not eligible for reelection or reappointment. In order to provide this opportunity for as many young Virginians as possible, persons who have served as a page in the House of Delegates are not eligible to serve as a Senate Page/Messenger.
The School and Education PDF is available for principals, teachers, guidance counselors, students, and families. Absenteeism for Senate Pages/Messengers is addressed in sections 8VAC20-110-40 and 8VAC20-110-50 of the Virginia Administrative Code. We strongly recommend you furnish a copy to the appropriate school personnel when applying.
For those interested in becoming a 2015 Senate Page/Messenger, the online application process opened August 1 and closed November 1, 2014. For additional information, or if you have any questions, please call toll-free at 1(888) 892-6948 or 1(804) 698-7410 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Select a PDF below to find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions regarding the House of Delegates Page Program.
The School and Education PDF answers questions for principals, teachers, guidance counselors, students, and families.
The House Page Program PDF answers questions for students and families about applying and what it is like to be a House of Delegates Page.
Each year the Speaker of the House of Delegates appoints 13 and 14 year-olds from across the Commonwealth to serve as House pages during the regular session of the General Assembly. These young people assist the members of the House of Delegates, the House Clerk's staff, and other legislative staff in the daily duties required for the successful operation of the House of Delegates during the session.
The page workday begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. A lunch break is provided. There is no weekend work except for the last Saturday of session. Pages deliver documents throughout the Capitol complex, and perform errands for members and staff of the House of Delegates during each day's floor session and at committee meetings. Pages are also selected for assignments in specific House offices including the Speaker's Office, the Clerk's Office, the Bill Room, the Copy Center, and the Governor's Office. Pages are trained for these assignments during the first two days of their employment. Every effort is made to provide each page with a variety of work assignments. All work assignments are important to the legislative process and should be performed in a professional manner.
While at work pages are under the supervision of the Clerk and the Information & Communications Services Director, the Page Coordinator and Assistant Page Coordinator, and two Head Pages who served as pages the previous year. After work pages have approximately two hours of unsupervised free time from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. reserved for eating dinner. It is mandatory that all pages reside at the hotel. There are two chaperones on duty at the hotel from 5:00 p.m. until 8:30 a.m. each day, Sunday through Friday.
A mandatory study hall is held at the hotel every Monday through Thursday evening from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Certified teachers supervise the pages and help individual students as needed. Study hall teachers do not provide classroom instruction and do not administer tests and exams. Pages are responsible for arranging with their schools and teachers the preferred method of taking tests and exams. They must also make arrangements with their schools and teachers to maintain their schoolwork, including any tutoring that is required. Pages are responsible for making their own weekend travel arrangements.
It is important that prospective pages understand that they are to conduct themselves in an adult manner and should always be on their best behavior as they are representing their delegates, families, and schools. Serving as a page is a wonderful experience and an educational opportunity. However, it is also a 40-hour per week paid position for which they are making a firm commitment to report to work every day. Requests for time off to participate in extracurricular activities will not be granted. Their commitment requires hard work, initiative, responsibility, and a positive attitude. The Speaker and the Clerk expect excellent behavior from the pages and rely on a strong support network between the pages, their families, teachers, and the Clerk's staff. Pages not conducting themselves in an appropriate manner will be disciplined as required, which may include removal from the program.
The Speaker's Office and the Clerk's Office staffs strive to ensure that each page's employment with the House of Delegates is both enjoyable and educational.
Thank you for your interest in the House of Delegates Page Program. The online application for the 2015 Legislative Session closed at 5pm, Monday, October 20, 2014.
The online application will open August 1, 2015 for the 2016 Legislative Session. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Page applicants must be 13 or 14 years old on January 13, 2016 to be eligible.
If you have questions about the application process or the House of Delegates Page Program, contact Kathy Roberts at (804) 698-1128 or email@example.com.