Hello! My name is Emerie, and I was recently elected as Oregon’s 2022 kid governor. Let me tell you how it all started.
One morning at school my teacher mentioned a program called Oregon Kid Governor. I instantly was interested, but I didn’t know much about the program. Later that week during our normal class meeting, she finally got to share more about it. “… And for those who are interested in Kid Governor, I will give you a paper that you and your parents will need to sign. So obviously I took the paper home and so did a few friends of mine. I came back the next day with my signed paper and a good feeling.
With permission to participate we had to each think of a community issue that we could help solve with a three point plan. Three of us classmates, one that happens to be my best friend since the 1st grade, started to figure out our community issue. I had several ideas, but I didn’t know which one was the one that suited me most.
Three issues that I wanted to help with were:
1: Animal abuse
2: Law enforcement appreciation
3: Preventing wildfires
They were all great causes that needed help, but I didn’t know which one to choose! I won’t lie, this was really hard for me! I had a long evening of thinking and talking with both my parents and grandparents. I told them “I love animals and I feel like that’s my favorite, but is that more important than my other two ideas? Would people vote for me? Are enough people already fighting against animal abuse?”
I went with my gut and my heart and decided I wanted to stop animal abuse. And I was very excited about it.
My teacher gave all the candidates in my class a poster board that we could use for our campaign speech. I took mine home and started working it and my speech. I love acronyms, I thought, I could make a fun acronym for a step in my three point plan. L.O.V.E. animals? No. Y.A.Y. Animals? Doesn’t sound like stopping animals abuse. N.O. to animal abuse? Way too short and boring. Then, like a strike of lighting, it hit me. Lend a P.A.W. it’s so perfect!
“P” would stand for Participate, “A” for Acknowledge, and “W” for Welcome. Lend A P.A.W. would become humane society program to get people involved. Then I thought about earning money for humane societies or donating items to help them. And then mandatory background checks for prior animals abuse convictions or ways to stop people that have abused an animal from getting another one.
I typed up my speech and grabbed the bucket of sharpies that live up high in the art cabinet. I laid out the huge poster board and started to write. I wrote a few “Vote for Emerie!” slogans around the poster, added some cute animal doodles and wrote out my three point plan. I even got creative and sketched my name at the top of the poster in rainbow colors! Finally that night I played out a white shirt and a pretty formal jacket and some black leggings. I thought that would be a good outfit and I would look professional enough for the election the next day.
When morning finally came, I woke up and got ready for school. I had been waiting for this moment. One candidate dropped out, but I still went against two. Two of my friends that both had really great and important causes. My best friend wanted to create a way for all kids to play sports, even if they can’t afford it, and my other friend wanted to help homeless people.
I walked up to the front of the room, not feeling nervous at all. I gave my speech, showed my poster and sat back down. After the candidates finished, we voted. A little while later, my teacher called the candidates out of the classroom. She pulled us aside and said “the winner who will go on to represent our school is… Emerie!”
I instantly cried. I cried because I felt bad for my friends who worked hard and really wanted to win and I cried because I was excited about what this meant! My friends were sad, but also happy for me.
It felt like forever, but I think it was only a few weeks later, that my class checked the Kid Governor website to see who made the top seven. My name and picture was there! I was so shocked and so happy. My class watched all the other candidates videos and they voted. I hoped my classmates would vote for me, but I saw the other candidates videos and was impressed. I loved their videos and platforms and I was so excited to be on the cabinet with them (all the kids in the top seven that don’t win kid governor get to be on the cabinet together!)!
Finally the day came where I found out who won. Well, actually, I had no idea that was THE day. But that morning I looked at our class schedule. Assembly? I thought. We had one the other day…so another one so soon seemed a little strange. Shortly after that I was told to work on a speech. Actually two, one speech in case I won, and a second one in case I lost. As we got ready to head to the assembly I asked my teacher if it had to do with Kid Governor. She said “I don’t know, but bring your speeches just to be safe.”
So I did. We walked into the gym, I sat on the bleachers. There was a stage set up and some news crews there. Odd. Then I saw that my family. My parents, grandparents and little brothers. Also odd. A lady started to speak and at that point I knew the assembly was about Kid Governor but I wasn’t sure I had won yet. She said to watch a video, which was a breaking news video. I was getting more excited and then she said it. “Congratulations to our newest Kid Governor, Emerie!”
Everyone was clapping and excited for me! Shocked, my principal, led me to the stage. It is almost all a blur, but I read my victory speech and thanked everyone who had supported me and voted for me.
I later found out the Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, was supposed to be there to make the announcement. She had gotten a flat tire though and had to miss the entire assembly. BUT! Later that afternoon, she made it to my school, and brought her adorable dog with her. It was exciting to meet both of them and I’m already looking forward to the next time I get to play with that cute dog of hers!
So, that’s how I became Oregon’s newest kid governor, from beginning to end!
Love Emerie 😀