Two MHS seniors selected to serve in Legislative Page program at Iowa Capitol

Mary Kate Gruening and Abbey Welden will both fulfill longtime goals of becoming legislative Pages at the Iowa Capitol beginning in January. [Iowa Capitol photo by David Mark]

Four years ago, an eighth grade trip to the State Capitol Building sparked an interest in students Abbey Welden and Mary Kate Gruening; starting in January, the MHS seniors will fulfill longtime goals by serving as legislative Pages.

A Page works to assist and support legislators and staff at the Iowa Capitol throughout the legislative session in Des Moines. The position offers high schoolers the opportunity to witness and play a role in the important work of creating state laws; Gruening and Welden have worked hard since that trip to Des Moines to earn the title of Page. 

“I made it a goal for myself to one day work at the State Capitol – I am ecstatic that it has worked out, to say the least,” Welden said. “Representative [Sue] Cahill was my kindergarten teacher at Woodbury Elementary. Working alongside her by assisting her with duties will be very nostalgic for me.” 

Gruening said she is excited to learn more about the inner workings of state government. 

“After taking a couple of government classes in high school, it will be exciting to see the legislative process work in action,” she said. 

Both students credited Miller Middle School Extended Learning Program (XLP) teacher Ann Jackson for introducing them to the world of state government and politics; Jackson organized the trip to the Capitol when Welden and Gruening  were in eighth grade.

The students said they hope working as Pages will prepare them for their future career interests. 

“At this moment, I am not sure if I’m interested in a career in government, but participating in the Page program will help me determine if it is a career I would like to pursue,” Gruening said. “Policymaking does interest me, as I plan to major in public policy and pursue further education through graduate or law school.”

Welden also said she has aspirations for a career working on important issues. 

“I am planning on studying international relations in college in hopes that I can one day work for various U.S. Embassies abroad, with a position focused on public diplomacy,” she said.