BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DES MOINES – Anyone from Central Lee paying attention to Gov. Kim Reynolds Condition of the State speech Tuesday night may have caught a glimpse of a familiar face.
Central Lee senior Trey Wellman had a seat to the right of the Governor Tuesday night as the page to Speaker of the House Pat Grassley.
Wellman sat motionless for the entire address without standing or clapping. He said that’s because pages are supposed to remain neutral in their duties.
But he said the evening was something he will never forget.
“For me the coolest thing, aside from being right there for the governor’s speech, was seeing people from all sides standing up and being grateful she was there,” Wellman said Wednesday night.
“It was just very cool to see the whole thing in action – people in the gallery, people behind the desks of legislators – just being able to witness something like that at the beginning of a session will be something I always remember.”
Wellman applied to be a 2022 legislative page last year. He obtained a letter of recommendation from current State Rep. Joe Mitchell (R-84th District) and was accepted into the program. During orientation pages are given an opportunity to interview to be a page for someone in the majority and minority leadership, or for the Chief Clerk.
“Our first page orientation, everybody had a chance to do an interview with the speaker’s office, the majority leader’s office and the minority leader’s office and one page is selected for each,” Wellman said.
He was asked if he would like to page for Speaker Grassley’s office and he accepted the job.
He said his first duty was to put each state representative’s name with a face because he has the job of turning on and off microphones during sessions at the direction of the leadership.
“The computer that I sit at runs all the microphones in the house. So before the Governor came out Tuesday night, I was working those microphones. Once she came into the chamber I stood and then sat back down and that was it.”
Wellman had a full day prior to the address with a morning session in the House chamber and then filling other page duties throughout the day. There was a call to order at about 5:30 p.m. and the House began filling up and the Senate joined the chamber.
The Chamber then moves to appoint a committee to retrieve the dignitaries including judges and the governor and then he turns the microphone on from his seat. The only microphone he doesn’t control is the Sergeant at Arms.
Getting to serve as a page gives Wellman a unique glimpse at the political process at a very young age, but he said he does have political aspirations after college. He stops short at declaring a party of choice.
“I want to get in the political scene myself. I can’t say any political representation being a page and that’s why I didn’t stand at all during the governor’s speech. I have to stay very neutral.”
Wellman is still taking classes at Central Lee and SCC online. He returns to school on Friday after four days of sessions in Des Moines. He stays at a hotel at the capitol Monday night through Wednesday night and then returns home on Thursday evenings.
He attends school on Friday where he takes an agriculture class and then discusses the week’s events in Des Moines with his government teacher, Chuck Banks.
Pages are paid $9.28 an hour for a 40 hour work week, but all other expenses are incurred by the page.