We’ve finally had some nice weather and farmers will soon be headed out to the fields for planting. When farmers head back to the fields, that’s normally a good indication that our work in Des Moines is coming to an end. That continues to hold true this year.
We are wrapping up the final policy bills of the session and work on the budget continues. Our budget plan makes investments in key priorities and protects essential functions of government. We’ve fought hard to protect funding for K-12 schools, as well as provide additional funding for community colleges and put more State Troopers on our highways.
Each session, high school students from across the state are given the unique opportunity to work as pages in the Iowa Legislature. This once in a lifetime experience gives students the chance to see the inner workings of state government and make connections and friendships that will last a lifetime.
I’ve had the opportunity to sit alongside an incredible young woman, Rachel Zumbach of Coggon, who has served as the Speaker’s page this session. In this week’s newsletter she shares her experience:
Hello, my name is Rachel Zumbach and I am the Speaker’s Page for the 2017 Legislative Session. I am a Senior at North Linn High School, which is about 20 miles straight north of Cedar Rapids. While in high school I had the opportunity to participate in numerous activities, but my favorite is FFA, in which I currently serve as the Iowa FFA Northeast State Vice President. I have a passion for helping others and agriculture which is why I will be attending Iowa State University to major in Agriculture Education this fall. This passion derived from growing up on our family farm near Coggon, a small town in Northeast Iowa.
While living in Northeast Iowa you wouldn’t expect the page program to be widely known. However, because my government teacher, Quentin Stanerson, was a previous State Representative, he informed my classmates and me about this opportunity. Mr. Stanerson posted the application on the board right in front of my desk and every day when I walked into class he told me to apply. But in the end, my decision to do so was greatly influenced by my father, Louie, running for office in 2016.
Working at the Capitol this year was especially memorable because I got to work alongside my dad as he was elected to be the Representative for House District 95. These past few months working together have been great as it has allowed me to live on my own, but still with the safety net of having one of my parents nearby at all times. This was helpful when I forgot extra money for the food-court, was in desperate need for an oil change in my car, or the times I needed that parent/guardian signature for a scholarship I was filling out the day it was due.
While working as the Speaker’s Page, I have had several day-to-day tasks. Although, some of them aren’t extremely exciting, such as getting the mail and writing press releases, there are still many things I enjoyed working on. These included: organizing the office, being Speaker Upmeyer’s right hand gal during debate, and protecting the gavel former Speaker Kraig Paulsen hand-crafted for her. As it was made known to me before I started working here, Representatives will often hide the gavel if I’m not paying full attention. One other job that I enjoyed was being the care taker for the office’s pet snail, Trump!
My favorite memories that I’ve had this session include standing next to Governor Terry Branstad as he gave his last Condition of the State and learning that every girl needs multiple colors of lipstick from Speaker Upmeyer and one of the legislative clerks, Talynn Griggs. I also enjoyed Representative Matt Windschitl and Stacey Pellet, the John Deere Lobbyist, who gave me advice before State FFA Officer Interviews. Lastly, Representative Zumbach (my dad) congratulating and recognizing me as the Speaker’s Page and the 2017-2018 Iowa FFA Northeast State Vice President by giving me my grandfather’s pocket watch in front of the entire House chamber one morning.
I cannot thank Speaker Upmeyer and all of the Representatives, clerks, doorkeepers, pages, and office staff enough for the impact they have had on me these last few months. Working at the Iowa Capitol has allowed me to make some of the greatest friendships that I will cherish forever. I am humbled to have served as the Speaker of the House’s 2017 Legislative Page and will miss everyone so much when attending Iowa State University next year. I can proudly say these last few months have been the best memories of my high school experience. Thank you.
It’s been a real pleasure getting to know Rachel, as well as all the other pages that have served the Legislature this year. I’m confident that the future of our state is very bright with these young people leading the way.
For more information about the page program, please visit the legislative website here.
With session winding down, please continue to stay in touch. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by calling my office at (515) 281-3521.