Julia Shepard’s Page Experience


For one week in March, Julia Shepard ‘16 transformed her life from a full time Blake student to a page for the Minnesota House of Representatives in Saint Paul. She made the trek down to the Minnesota state legislature building and learned about the inner workings of Minnesota’s legislation.

Shepard became a page for a week through the High School Page Program, which offers the position to all Minnesota high school juniors. This program takes eager juniors and teaches them about how the Minnesota legislature works, while simultaneously allowing these juniors to watch and assist committees.

For clarification, a page is someone who helps and assists representatives by providing them with services or distributing notes from lobbyists to representatives. A committee is a focused discussion on a bill, or a set of bills that relate to one another.

As Shepard explains, “I was interested in becoming a page at the house of representatives because I did not know much about the legislative process and I was curious to know more.” She reflects that “This experience has definitely changed my opinion on politics.  I have much more appreciation for the work our representatives do day in and day out through committee, on the floor and behind the scenes.  There are so many steps that go into creating a new law or revising a current law.”

In a time when the US government is under a lot of scrutiny, it’s imperative to realize that legislation is not as simple as many presume it to be. As Shepard explains “The process [legislation] is not very efficient;  It is often slow moving” but she adds that the additional “time gives people the time to fully invest in the implications of the proposed bill,” which is crucial when a proposed bill becomes law.

Overall, Shepard explains how she “would highly recommend this other students;  I learned so much and it was a great experience that has catalyzed my interest in government.  If anyone is either interested in government or curious to know what it does or how it works, this is the program for you.”