By Mary C. Hunt
Gabe Fanning, a son of Jason and Andrea Fanning, has been selected as a United States Senate Page for the Spring 2019 term. He was nominated by Senator John Thune. Fanning will be one of only 30 high school juniors who will serve during this session of the 116th Congress.
Fanning will serve as a page not only for Thune but for all of the Republican senators. His days will be long and follow the Senate schedule. He’ll attend Page School, which typically begins early in the morning and lasts only about four hours, leaving the remainder of the day for supporting the Senate majority in Fanning’s case.
According to the U.S. Senate website, “Senate page duties consist primarily of delivery of correspondence and legislative material within the Congressional complex. Other duties include preparing the chamber for Senate sessions, and carrying bills and amendments to the desk.”
Fanning learned that he had secured the appointment in late November but didn’t disclose the news until recently after he had gotten used to the idea and completed the myriad forms required before his January 28 start date. Interestingly, Gabe’s dad received the news first. He told his wife, Andrea, and they then took Gabe out to lunch and gave him the exciting news.
When asked how he feels about this honor, Gabe shared, “When I first applied for it, I didn’t know if I would get it. Something as big as this… you don’t hear a lot about kids coming from towns of 1,000 people doing something like this. Only 30 people got selected. I am really humbled and really excited to see where this will take me. Potentially it can put a foot in the door for my hoped-for career in politics.” Gabe has big career goals “to be in Washington somehow. Whether that’s as a representative or senator or working in the executive or judicial branch.
“I’ve always been interested in United States history, the government, the Constitution. I think our Constitution is the best in the world.”
While Gabe has traveled to Washington, D.C. in the past, this will be the first time he has lived away from home. He is excited but also a little concerned about being homesick. However, he knows that “it will be worth it in the end.” He had limited time to visit the museums and monuments in Washington during his previous 4-H-sponsored trip, so he is looking forward to free time to explore and go on Senate Page School field trips.
Fanning learned about the Senate Page program from a prior page from South Dakota and decided to apply. The application consisted of a letter, résumé, and two letters of recommendation. One of Fanning’s recommendations came from Steve Livermont, District 27 Representative in the S.D. Legislature. Fanning looks up to Livermont especially since Fanning wants to go into politics and sees Livermont as a humble person he wants to emulate.
Currently Fanning plans to attend a midwest college although he says he may consider reaching farther based on the opportunities the Page appointment may give him.
“Most definitely,” answered Fanning when I asked him if this was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to him. “It’s not every day that a 17-year-old gets to go work in the nation’s Capitol and be shoulder-to-shoulder with one hundred of the most powerful men and women in the world.”