SALEM, Ore. - The former chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court swore in a 5th grader from Eugene as Oregon's Kid Governor.
The inauguration of Erikka Baldwin from McCornack Elementary School took place in the Senate Chamber of the Oregon State Capitol.
“I want to thank my family for all the support that they have given me,” Erikka said. “I am honored to represent Oregon’s 5th graders and am ready to be the best Kid Governor that I can be.”
The Kid Governor program, created by the Connecticut Center for Democracy, is in its second year in Oregon, organized by Secretary of State Dennis Richardson.
“The Kid Governor program is a participatory democracy in action,” Richardson said. “What we've found is, by having 5th graders participate in this whole process, they learn much more than if they are just receiving a lecture.”
Governor Kate Brown, State Representative-elect Marty Wilde from Eugene, Former Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz, and 2018 Kid Governor Dom Peters all took part in the ceremony.
“We are thrilled to see the Kid Governor program growing and being adopted in more states nationally,” said Mary Beth Herkert, Oregon State Archivist and Director of Oregon's Kid Governor program. “We’re so proud of Erikka and know she is going to be a wonderful example for Oregon’s 5th graders.”
Fourteen students submitted videos with their plans for tackling an issue they felt passionate about. From those, 7 finalists qualified for the official Kid Governor election.
All told, over 1,200 5th graders across the state voted in the election.
Baldwin won, running on a platform of finding forever homes for Oregon’s dogs and cats.
“I am excited to be part of this adventure,” she said. “My sincere desire is to advocate for the many homeless animals and to help them find their perfect forever home.”