Published 7:00 am Friday, March 21, 2014
Two local students recently spent a week in Jackson where they learned about the legislative process through the Mississippi Senate Page program.
Senator Angela Hill sponsored Victoria and Gabriella Voss’s time at the Senate.
Elaine Voss, Victoria and Gabriella’s mother, said the girls found out about the program through previous pages and Hill, who is a friend of Elaine Voss.
Elaine Voss said the girls not only learned about the legislative process, but the experience also introduced them to other pages that they have since become friends.
She said being a part of how the legislature works was a great way for the two students to experience what they have only heard about in school.
Elaine Voss emphasized that being a page was hard work for her daughters. She said the girls got up at 6 a.m. everyday and had to be at the capital by 8:30 a.m. where they worked until 5:30 p.m.
Part of their job included running errands for the Senators and staff at the Capitol, but they were also able to watch the legislative process, said Arnold Lindsey, press secretary for the Mississippi Senate.
“They said they learned more in that short time than they have ever learned,” Hill said. “I was honored to have the girls and their mother, Elaine, visiting the Mississippi Senate.”
Hill said, some of the “heated Senate debates” the sisters witnessed during their time included discussions on common core and the bill that would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks.
“First-hand is the only good way to learn the process,” Hill said.
Elaine Voss said both girls are involved in many extracurricular activities and are also very active at their church, but this was an opportunity for them to expand their view of the state and the world.
“I want to thank Angela Hill, Tony Smith and Mark Formby for what they do for our children,” Elaine Voss said. “I felt very honored that those three represent our county.”
She said Formby sat down with both girls during their week in Jackson to explain the legislative process and Smith took the initiative to introduce the girls to Gov. Phil Bryant.
Gabriella is an eighth grader at Pearl River Central Middle School and Victoria is a senior at Pearl River Central High School and a part of the dual enrollment program at PRCC.