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Gervais fifth-grader Dom Peters begins his term as Oregon's first Kid Governor

COURTESY PHOTO: THE OFFICE OF DENNIS RICHARDSON - Oregon's first Kid Governor Dom Peters (right), a fifth-grader from Gervais, signed his official oath of office Monday. He is pictured with Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (center) and former Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul De Muniz.Oregon's first Kid Governor Dom Peters was inaugurated Monday morning in a ceremony held in the state Senate chamber.

Dom, an 11-year-old Gervais resident and a fifth-grader at Willamette Valley Christian School, was chosen by his peers in a statewide election held Nov. 27.

"Thank you so much for electing me Oregon's first Kid Governor," Dom said Monday in his first public address to Oregonians. "It has been an amazing experience so far, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year."

Dom was chosen from a field of eight fifth-grade candidates. He ran his campaign on an anti-bullying platform.

According to a Jan. 8 press release, many attended the inauguration ceremony, including Dom's family and classmates, the seven other finalists for Oregon's Kid Governor and their families, and a number of Oregon senators and state representatives.COURTESY PHOTO: THE OFFICE OF DENNIS RICHARDSON - Dom is pictured meeting with the media in the Capitol Press Room.

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, Senate President Peter Courtney, and former Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul De Muniz all spoke during the ceremony, giving short civics lessons on their respective branches of government.

"We are thrilled to be the second state to teach civics in a new and exciting way through the nationally award-winning Kid Governor program," said Mary Beth Herkert, Oregon state archivist and director of Oregon's Kid Governor program, in the press release.

Oregon's Kid Governor is a statewide civics program adopted by Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. Oregon's program is modeled after a similar program in Connecticut. The program aims to engage fifth-graders in learning about their government through hands-on experience.

"The Kid Governor program is a participatory democracy in action," Richardson said in the press release. "What we've found is, by having fifth-graders participate in this whole process, they learn much more than if they are just receiving a lecture."

More than 20 students submitted videos outlining their plans for tackling an issue they felt passionate about, and eight finalists qualified for the official Kid Governor election.

More than 1,300 fifth-graders across the state voted in the election, and Dom was chosen to be Oregon's first Kid Governor for 2018.

As part of his anti-bullying campaign, Dom said that as Kid Governor he will work to raise awareness for the need to prevent bullying and encourage students from across Oregon to do the same.

"I really hope I can make a difference in the state of Oregon to stop bullying. Ending bullying starts with us working together," Dom said in his closing remarks on Monday. "I hope that fifth-graders in Oregon will join me in writing stories to teach each other to be kind and caring to one another.

Watch the complete inauguration video here as well as follow Dom's work as Kid Governor on Oregon's Kid Governor official website and blog. Dom will be engaging in activities throughout the year to bring awareness to his platform and encourage kids and adults to participate in their government.

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