House pages used to joke about gay members of Congress, according to CU student Daniel Ciucci, a former House of Representatives page who met embattled Republican Congressman Mark Foley.
“It’s a joke among the pages,” Ciucci said. “He was a very friendly guy, but I never thought anything like this would come about.”
Foley, who represented Florida in the House for 12 years, resigned on Sept. 29, after sexually explicit e-mails he allegedly sent to pages were publicly scrutinized. The news set off a firestorm of media controversy and leading for some to call for the resignation of House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Ciucci, a freshman business major at CU who worked in Washington, D.C. as a page, sponsored by Congressman Mark Udall, in the spring 2005. He met Foley on several occasions.
“I talked to Foley and then went back to the page desk,” said Ciucci. “Everyone was kind of joking. It’s just what the pages do whenever they give a bill or a fax to Congressmen, Colby, Foley or Barney Frank, which are the three gay members of Congress.”
The U.S. House Page Program, which gives high school junior the opportunity to work in the House of Representatives, is a highly competitive program. State representatives usually nominate pages. They’ve worked in Congress for almost 180 years.
News of Foley’s explicit emails to pages has thrust the program into the national spotlight and sparked criminal investigations.
“It’s not helping the program at all,” said Ciucci. “The program is something worthwhile. It has changed many lives, inspired many teens to go into public service later in their lives.”