Could telework resurrect the House Page Program?

It's true: The smart phone and e-mail killed the Page Program in the House.

The nearly 200-year-old program that introduces the inner workings of the government to students was also put to rest last month because consultants estimated that it cost $80,000 per page annually, and technology eliminated the need for pages to run through the halls on errands. Current pages and alumni of the program were saddened by the news. There was even a Facebook movement to reverse the decision.

“I can see the logic,” Jerry Papazian, a California consultant who leads the Capitol Page Alumni Association, told the Washington Post. Although he's still sad about it, Papazian acknowledged that technology does much of the work he performed as a page in 1971 and 1972.

Yet as the House Page Program closes, writer Josh Smith of GottaBeMobile has proposed instituting a telework-based page program.

“The same technology [that] made pages obsolete could also help revive a new telework page program at a lower cost and higher impact,” Smith said of his proposal.

He suggested that the next generation of pages work from home and be equipped with BlackBerrys issued by the federal government and a secure video connection to their designated representatives from whom they would receive daily assignments.

According to the Page Program’s website, the primary duties lend themselves to telework and include answering phones in the members’ cloakrooms, taking messages for House members and calling members in the House chamber to the phone.

“I will admit that the function of pages has changed and in some cases [been] marginalized by technology,” said one page quoted on the Washington Post's "2chambers" blog. “But the program, as I saw it, was an invaluable opportunity to show young people the true nature of Congress."

About the Author

Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.