USA TODAY US Edition
Around the nation
‘Kid governor’ speaks from no-bully pulpit.
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.”