Local Student Selected As Congressional Page

DECEMBER 18, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:00 P.M. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Back in September, Capitol Hill and the Congressional Page Program were knocked for a loop when it was discovered that former Florida Representative Mark Foley was having inappropriate communications with underage male pages. Steps have been taken to prevent another incident like this one from happening and a local student will soon experience the changes first hand.

Taylor Riddle is 17 year old Junior at Nettleton High School. In January, he will move to our nation's capitol to fill a prestigious position as a congressional page on Capitol Hill.

"Two weeks ago is when I was notified. I got a letter from Nancy Pelosi in the mail saying that I had been selected as a U.S. Page," says Riddle.

Taylor was only 15 when he started working with Congressman Marion Berry, helping out with campaigns and getting to know the world of politics. He says he's honored and excited about becoming a congressional page, but also realizes the program is going through some changes.

"When the scandal was going on, me and Congressman Berry sat down and talked and he told me, he wasn't going to send a page to D.C. until he knew things have changed," says Riddle.

Now, months after the Mark Foley scandal, Congressman Berry says he's confident the program is as safe as ever and therefore recommended Taylor for the program. He released this statement about the changes saying they will "not only protect students involved, but make it better for pages like Taylor." Adding, they "remain fully committed to increasing the oversight and participation from parents."

"I think the environment in D.C. for pages is probably the best it's going to get because the page program is in the lime light right now," says Riddle.

Taylor just received his packet with the rules and a strict schedule he'll be living by while in D.C.

"What they were very adamant about in our packet was the fact that we will be regulated on our use on the internet," says Riddle.

Like many on Capitol Hill, Taylor thinks the new changes in rules will help protect the integrity of the 150 year old program.

"I truly believe that this page program is getting back on the right track," adds Riddle.

Taylor is sponsored by Congressmen Marion Berry and the First Congressional District. He leaves for D.C. in January and will work as a page for six months, while attending school at the Library of Congress.