Destin girl serves as legislative page

Special to The Destin Log/USA TODAY NETWORK

TALLAHASSEE — Destin resident Sophia Osorio, a sixth-grader at Saint Mary Catholic School, completed a week-long service as a page for the Florida House of Representatives.

The daughter of retired 7th Special Forces Green Beret JR Osorio and speech pathologist Tani Osorio was nominated by state Rep. Patt Maney.

Sophia Osorio, a sixth-grader at Saint Mary Catholic School, completed a week-long service as a page for the Florida House of Representatives. She is seen with state Rep. Patt Maney on the House floor.

"It was really cool because I experienced representatives and other pages and messengers being very kind," Sophia said. "I also loved to see the bills getting passed  and hearing the representatives’ point of view of lawmaking. I would really recommend this program to other students like me because I learned how the laws of Florida are created.

"I’m really thankful for this opportunity," she added. "I want to thank all the representatives and staff members for providing the perfect experience at the Florida House of Representatives."

The pages toured the Capitol, had a photo with Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls and enjoyed an educational and fun tour of the murals in the House Chamber. They also drafted mock bills and later in the week argued them in a mock session of the Legislature.

They also met and were briefed by former page and now state Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera.

In the chamber, pages ran errands and got to know various representatives.

“Some of them were really cool and funny and played pranks on other representatives by pushing their page call button. A highlight for me was leading the House of Representatives in the Pledge of Allegiance," Sophia said.

She said she’d like to serve again as a page and as a messenger when she’s in high school. She found listening to the members debate bills and honor visitors was fun and that she’d consider returning as a member of the House so that she can make a difference.

“Sophia was an absolute delight. She was always happy and eager to learn and serve. I was honored for her to be my first page,” Maney said. “She was a first-hand witness to debates on the House floor as legislators debated bills that will affect the future of Floridians.”

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, each member was limited to one page during the 60-day session. Each page, like each member, was tested for COVID-19 at the beginning of the week.