CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Secretary of State Mac Warner is proud to announce that Brooklynne Russell and Joplin Kehrer, juniors at Bridgeport High School, 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 Thursday morning in a ceremony held in the Secretary of State’s Office in the State Capitol, Secretary Warner introduced Russell and Kehrer 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.
“Brooklynne Russell and Joplin Kehrer 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.
"Brooklynne Russell and Joplin Kehrer are 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. “Russell and Kehrer came highly recommended to me by an Inspired Alumnus, and they have more than lived up to the standard set in their recommendations. They are passionate about encouraging their peers to become more civically engaged for the betterment of their community and our state as a whole."
Russell plans to go to Shepherd University, where she will pursue degrees in political science and public relations. Kehrer plans to study veterinarian medicine.
"I'm interested in being an Honorary Secretary of State due to my large love for anything government and or politically involved," Russell said. "I believe being an Honorary Secretary of State for a day would allow me to get a glimpse of what I'll be getting myself into in the future."
"To me, exercising the right to vote is the duty of every American, and civic engagement is an integral part of our democracy, as it allows for citizen-politician interaction and provides the opportunity to create change within our local, state, and national governments," Kehrer said. "Gaining insight into these processes is a unique opportunity that I am excited to be involved in."
Also attending today's ceremony was Joseph Loyd, Jr., who is an official witness to the Certificate of Adoption of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which gave adults age 18 through 20 the right to vote.
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): Secretary of State Mac Warner; Bridgeport High School juniors Brooklynne Russell and Joplin Kehrer; Joseph Loyd, Jr.; and Delegate Ben Queen, R-Harrison.