News ‘Day 1 of RILEYwatch on the floor of the Va. House of Delegates’
Day 1 of RILEYwatch on the floor of the Va. House of Delegates, where 12-YO Riley from PWC is undergoing House Page orientation. Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/e8tdIRKmmn
— Del. Rich Anderson (@DelRichAnderson) January 8, 2017
Manassas 7th grader Riley Kotlus will travel to Richmond next month to begin a two-month experience working with the Virginia General Assembly. Kotlus was selected by House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell as one of only 38 students from throughout the Commonwealth for the highly competitive Virginia House of Delegates Page Program. The Virginia Senate also conducts a similar program in its own chamber.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” said Kotlus. “I have always been interested in politics and government, and even though I will be doing clerical duties, I will have a front-row seat to history.”
Pages work during the day completing assigned tasks that include assisting committee clerks, distributing documents, running messages, and performing other administrative tasks.
Delegate Rich Anderson (VA-51st) is Kotlus’ home delegate and expressed his excitement about what the young man will experience as a page. Anderson observed that “the Page Program provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to young people in Virginia. For decades, it has been a positive, life-changing experience for the students who have gone through the program. I am very excited to have Riley join us in Richmond this term, and I think that he’ll be a tremendous asset to our team in the House of Delegates!”
Kotlus learned about the Page Program after taking part in Delegate Anderson’s “Future Delegate Program,” where he was able to shadow Delegate Anderson for an entire day during the 2016 legislative session. “The hardest part was waiting to be old enough to apply for the Page Program,” remarked Kotlus. Kotlus is the second graduate of Anderson’s Future Delegate Program to be accepted into the House Page Program.
In his application, which included signatures from teachers, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay, Kotlus told the story of working on his first political campaign at the age of five years.
His early experience as a young campaign worker has prepared him for a rigorous workweek. A page’s workday is a full marathon that runs from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. After the workday concludes, students participate in mandatory study sessions to keep up with their school homework assignments back home. During downtime, the House of Delegates Page Office will schedule and sponsor educational field trips and page debates. Pages are paid for their work and are provided lodging and a living stipend while in Richmond.
Kotlus is also a member of the Chapel Springs Church youth leadership team. He is a Chaplain’s Aide in Boy Scout Troop 670 and is completing the rank of Life Scout. He is also part of the C4 Speech and Debate Program that is part of the Capital Baptist Coop. Kotlus says that he had to put a lot of thought into taking time away from his other activities. “I wrote a plan for my Scoutmaster about how I could do a good job for the Troop even though I’m away. At Chapel Springs, Pastor Bernice was very flexible with me so that I could still be helpful and participate fully in the House Page Program. It’s really nice that I have such great people helping me, so that I can experience these opportunities in Richmond and still be responsible at home.”
Kotlus and the other pages from around Virginia will leave for Richmond on January 8th. For more information about the House Page Program or Delegate Rich Anderson’s Future Delegate Program, please email Legislative Aide Tommy Herbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Riley Kotlus also penned a few columns for Potomac Local called “Middle School Musings.”Send news and photos to Potomac Local
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