CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Secretary of State Mac Warner is proud to announce that Liberty High School senior Bethany Winters and Bridgeport High School senior Douglas Soule have been selected for the “Honorary Secretary of State” program for their efforts to register their classmates and neighbors to vote.
The “Honorary Secretary of State” program is joint venture between the Secretary of State’s Office and Inspire West Virginia – a non-partisan organization aimed at encouraging eligible high school juniors and seniors to register to vote. Inspire-WV hosts a year-long program to engage West Virginia’s young adults to become active and educated voters regardless of their political affiliation.
On Monday morning in a ceremony held in the Secretary of State’s Office in the State Capitol, Secretary Warner introduced Winters and Soule and congratulated them and their high school.
“Registering to vote should be an important rite of passage for young adults,” Warner said. “When young people vote, they reaffirm everything our forefathers fought for and help keep the flame of democracy lit for the next generation.
“Bethany Winters and Douglas Soule have taken the time to educate their peers on the importance of the election process by getting them registered to vote. Millennials across this nation, and especially in West Virginia are voting, they’re running for office and they’re getting elected. Continuing to give this upcoming generation a voice in their government will be one way for us to keep them here in West Virginia,” Warner said.
"Bethany Winters and Douglas Soule are both exceptional Inspired Leaders who have displayed both passion and persistence to register and engage their peers in the democratic process,” said Olivia McCuskey, Program Coordinator for Inspire-WV. “Both of these young people came highly recommended to me by an Inspired Alumnus, and they have more than lived up to the standard set in their recommendation. They are both passionate about encouraging their peers to become more civically engaged for the betterment of their community and our state as a whole."
“I’m interested in civic engagement and voter registration because we cannot just sit back and let people make decisions for us, we should all act like citizens," Winters said. "I’m interested in being an Honorary Secretary of State for a day because this will be a great learning experience about how our government works.”
"I’m interested in being an Honorary Secretary of State because despite being the smallest office in West Virginia, the Secretary of State has an extensive array of responsibilities," Soule said. "This position is a small gear in a huge machine; without it, nothing would be able to work efficiently. There is a lot to learn from anyone who is elected to deal with matters of such importance. I can only see benefits of being Honorary Secretary of State."
Secretary Warner indicated that a total of 16 students have qualified this year for the “Honorary Secretary of State” recognition.
Pictured (from left to right): Delegate Richard Iaquinta, D-Harrison; Bridgeport High School senior Douglas Soule; Liberty High School senior Bethany Winters; Secretary of State Mac Warner; and Delegate Ben Queen, R-Harrison.