Local student selected to work in Senate
Since he was a child, Douglas High junior Andrew Solomon has engaged in political discussions with his parents at the dinner table.
“My mom is liberal, and my dad is conservative,” he said. “We always had really diverse discussions.”
Solomon was one of 30 students nationwide chosen to participate in the Senate page program in Washington, D.C., from January to June. He was appointed to the position by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and said he’ll be working mostly for the Democrats.
“I called Harry Reid’s office and told them I was interested,” he said. “They told me to write a formal letter, kind of like a resume. It was pretty rigorous. They looked everything ” academics, sports, clubs, et cetera.”
Solomon, who is an honor student and member of Douglas High’s Young Democrats, said this was a chance for him to get involved in the political process.
“I think there are some serious flaws in our country,” he said. “People are upset, and they’re not bad people. They’re just wondering why things aren’t being done.”
He said his main concerns are global warming, health care and education.
“You have people coming out of college with $200,000 worth of student loans they can’t afford,” he said. “Our country’s so great, but everyone thinks the government is corrupt. I’m going to actually see if there’s corruption, what the real deal is. I want to see how outside sources affect our laws.”
He said most of his work during the six-month stint will involve secretarial duties ” retrieving beverages for senators, taking phone messages ” but also relaying legislative documents and being able to see the political process up close.
“We’ll get up at 5 in the morning and go to school from 6:15 to 9:30 a.m., then work all day in the Senate,” he said.
Solomon will be able to earn high school credits for his return to Douglas High in the fall of 2008. “But I’m hoping to check out some colleges out there, and maybe get an internship in the summer through someone I met,” he said.
Solomon said he hopes to meet a variety of political candidates in anticipation of November’s election, which he will be old enough to vote in.
“What a year to do this,” he said. “I have so much respect for those who do their best for the country.”
Solomon will be making $1,152.75 per month plus room and board for his work ” a nice amount of money he can invest in college.
“I’m looking at schools in New York, like Columbia,” he said. “I’m thinking of majoring in international affairs or business relations, or something like that.”
His father, Authur Solomon, lauded his son’s ambitions, although he said he would miss him.
“I’m confident that Andrew can handle the transition from our environment to working with the most powerful people in the world,” he said. “I’m very proud of him. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
Andrew Solomon’s mother, Jane Lommel, said: “Andrew went to a public school in Israel for two years, with all his classes taught in Hebrew. He attended Sierra Crest Academy, the chartered public school in Minden, for two years and enjoyed many stimulating teachers at MES, CVMS and DHS. I think that diverse education contributed to his determination.”
Andrew’s own comment to his mother when they were discussing the regimentation and rigors of a Senate page’s life sums it up.
He said: “You know, Mom, I’m not one to back away from something difficult.”
“I hope that in some way he will, in turn, make a contribution to quality education for all students,” Lommel said.