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GMG student taps into politics as legislative page

Reporting to work from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. four days per week at the Iowa Capitol, high school juniors and seniors experience the behind scenes action of the Iowa Legislature.

GMG junior Abe Dieleman worked among 13 fellow Iowa high schoolers who were accepted into the legislative page program.

Selected for academic achievement and ambition for politics, Dielemen, along with other legislative pages, assist politicians and staff at the Iowa House during the legislative session.

Dieleman said politics have interested him for a long time, attending school board meetings since the third grade with his father who serves on the GMG School Board.

“Sometimes they were boring, but they were always at least a little bit interesting,” Dieleman said. “It was kind of weird for some of the board members that a young elementary student was interested.”

His duties as a legislative page include assisting with the switchboard, delivering messages, running errands, distributing bills and amendments, and responding to individual requests from politicians and staff.

On the first day at Iowa Capitol of being a page, Dieleman said he was a little anxious.

“We were all nervous, we weren’t really sure how it was going to go,” Dieleman said. “Then we all kind of learned about each other. It’s nice working with other people that are interested in politics.”

He said at GMG, there are not many students interested in politics, and he has found the most rewarding part of being a legislative page is the kinship with fellow pages and representatives.

The most surprising of what Dieleman learned at the Iowa Capitol is how much work and collaboration goes on behind the scenes in getting legislation passed.

“What I’ve found interesting is how much really goes on in the background,” Dieleman said. “There’s a lot of things that go into writing a bill, a lot of different people that have to work on it and it’s just neat seeing how much bipartisanship is in the background that people don’t see from the outside a lot of the time.”

A challenge for Dieleman has been balancing school work, extra curricular activities and commuting to Des Moines four days per week to work a full day as a page.

Dieleman plays on the GMG basketball team, sometimes leaving the Iowa Capitol a little early to make it back in time for practice and games.

When Dieleman is at school on Fridays he does his best to get caught up with work, working with the school principal and guidance counselor to manage the load.

Just a junior, Dieleman said he hasn’t locked in his plans for after high school, but is considering applying to Iowa State University to study politics and agriculture.

Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.

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