Earlier this month, 11-year-old Dom Peters was elected first-ever Kid Governor in the state of Oregon. He ran on an anti-bullying platform and was voted in by a majority of the state’s 5th-graders. A victim of bullying himself, Peters understands the pain that comes from being picked on at school or online and promised to create a comprehensive plan that ensures bullying is taken seriously in Oregon.
What even is a Kid Governor? And what powers do they hold? The Kid Governor Program began in Connecticut in 2015 and is designed to encourage students to learn about government while exploring their passion for a specific issue. Each year, a new student is elected and given a platform upon which to help raise awareness and propose changes that could make a difference in their communities.
Oregon is only the second state to join the program by creating a state-wide ‘office’ for civic-minded kids, and elected officials pulled out all the stops for its first-ever Kid Governor inauguration ceremony. Several top lawmakers were in attendance including Senator Peter Courtney, who spoke about the three branches of American government. Kid Governor Peters then gave his inaugural address, in which he laid out his “three-point plan” to help combat bullying at school and on the internet.
Obviously, bullying remains a serious issue for kids across the country, as they’re no longer just susceptible to teasing and harassment on the school playground. And it’s clear that Peter’s platform resonated with other fifth-graders. Hopefully, he can use his time in office to enact some positive change for Oregon students, not to mention learn a few things that might help get him elected to higher office someday down the road.