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‘Kid gov­er­nor’ speaks from no-bully pul­pit.

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Connor Rad­novich (Salem) States­man Jour­nal USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

In front of a pair of tele­vi­sion cam­eras, a clus­ter of young stu­dents and a few teach­ers tak­ing pic­tures with their phones, Sec­re­tary of State Den­nis Richard­son leaned down to give a fifth-grader his first class in me­dia train­ing.

“Tell them your name, you’ve just been elected Kid Gov­er­nor, and what you want to do,” Richard­son said, his hand on the kid’s shoul­der.

Dom Peters, 11, re­layed these sug­ges­tions into the mi­cro­phones in front of him, an­swer­ing the fi­nal ques­tions of his in­au­gu­ral news con­fer­ence as Ore­gon’s Kid Gov­er­nor-elect.

His year-long term will be­gin Jan. 9 with an in­au­gu­ra­tion at the State Capi­tol.

Dur­ing an assem­bly in front of his class­mates at Wil­lamette Val­ley Chris­tian School in Brooks on Mon­day, Richard­son an­nounced Dom as Ore­gon’s first ever Kid Gov­er­nor, elected by 1,350 vot­ing fifth­graders from across the state.

In his two-and-a-half-minute cam­paign video, Dom spoke of his de­sire to end bul­ly­ing and pro­mote kind­ness, draw­ing on his per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing bul­lied at his for­mer school. As Kid Gov­er­nor, Dom wants to write and pub­lish a short book to teach kids about bul­ly­ing, then share that book with class­rooms across the state.

He sug­gested cre­at­ing a club for stu­dents to write their own sto­ries about bul­ly­ing to raise aware­ness.

“To­gether, I hope we can help stop bul­ly­ing in the state of Ore­gon,” Dom said to his school dur­ing the an­nounce­ment. His re­marks were met with loud cheers and ap­plause from the as­sem­bled student body of about 175 stu­dents.

“He has a big heart,” his mother, Con­cetta Ma­ceira, said. “He gen­uinely cares about how other peo­ple are treated.”

Dom, who lives in Ger­vais, was one of eight stu­dents se­lected as a fi­nal­ist for fifth-graders in the state to choose be­tween. Other fi­nal­ists’ cam­paign videos cov­ered is­sues such as end­ing child abuse, in­creas­ing ac­cess to health care and help­ing fos­ter chil­dren.

Ore­gon’s Kid Gov­er­nor Pro­gram was de­vel­oped this year from an ini­tia­tive cre­ated in Con­necti­cut a few years ago. Ore­gon is only the sec­ond state to adapt the cur­ricu­lum, which con­sists of 15 lessons on civics in ad­di­tion to pro­mot­ing the Kid Gov­er­nor elec­tion.

“If we teach it, they’ll un­der­stand it,” Richard­son said. “This is a great way to get kids in­volved.”

Sec­re­tary of State Den­nis Richard­son shakes hands with Ore­gon Kid Gov­er­nor Dom Peters. MOLLY J. SMITH/STATES­MAN JOUR­NAL

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