PLEASANT HILL, Ore. -- Oregon welcomed its fifth Kid Governor on Tuesday -- a fifth-grader from Pleasant Hill Elementary School.
The program was started in back in 2015 at the Connecticut Democracy Center. Oregon became the second state to implement the program in 2017.
Emerie Martin, 11, was chosen out of seven final candidates to become Oregon’s Kid Governor. She plans to raise awareness about animal abuse in the state during her one-year term.
"I chose mandatory background checks so people that have abused animals can't get another one and I also did this thing called Lend a P.A.W. and that's a shelter program," Emerie said.
Lend a P.A.W. is a shelter program that Emerie said can help educate new pet owners. The P stands for participate by volunteering time at shelters, or hosting a food drive to help local shelters. The A stands for acknowledging that animals need love, care and attention. And the W stands for welcoming animals into your home.
Oregon's Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, said she is thrilled and starstruck to be working with Emerie.
"We couldn't miss the chance to come down here and congratulate Emerie and her entire class because this is really a team effort and they're going to be there as she serves as Oregon's next Kid Governor," Fagan said.
She also said this is an important time for students and parents to learn about state government.
"I'm excited and I want parents out there to know, parents and caretakers and guardians and grandparents to know that these are fifth-graders and they get this stuff," Fagan said.
Emerie's teacher, Nicola Shaddon, said she isn't surprised by her big dreams.
"This project was something that as soon as I heard of it, I knew it was something that she was going to be interested in," Shaddon said.
When Emerie was chosen to be the Pleasant Hill representative in the race for Kid Governor, Shaddon was right there to lend a helping hand, and so were Emerie's peers.
"She just said that she couldn't believe it, she couldn't believe it, and so I turned to the other two girls and they immediately just right there near her: 'We're going to help you, anything you need. We want to help you with your project, too,'" Shaddon said.
Emerie is set to be inaugurated in January 2022 at the state capitol in Salem.
"I'm just really excited to start getting to work," Emerie said.
You can watch Emerie's campaign video HERE.