CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Secretary of State Mac Warner is proud to announce that South Charleston High School senior Erin Dodd has been selected as the first “Honorary Secretary of State” for her efforts to register her 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 press conference held in the Governor’s Cabinet and Conference Room in the State Capitol, Secretary Warner introduced Dodd and congratulated her and her high school. Also in attendance was South Charleston High School Principal Michael Arbogast.
“We want our young adults to have a voice in their local, county, state and federal government,” Warner said. “There is no better way to do that than for them to register to vote and to be active voters in every election.”
“Erin Dodd and students like her all over West Virginia are working hard to register their peers. Our millennial generation is registering to vote. They’re voting, they’re running for office and they’re getting elected. Giving our young adults a voice in their government will be one way for us to keep them here in West Virginia,” Warner said.
House Majority Leader Darrell Cowles, R-Morgan, introduced Dodd and her guests from the floor of the House of Delegates. Cowles echoed the sentiment of Secretary Warner during his introduction.
“Our young adults are running for public office. Several of them are serving right here in the House of Delegates and they’re making a positive difference,” Cowles said referring to the members of the House of Delegates, Republicans and Democrats, who are under the age of 30.
Dodd is a senior at South Charleston High School. After graduating high school Dodd plans to pursue a career in law with a focus on international or civil rights, as well as considering running for public office.
"Erin Dodd is an exemplary Inspired Leader. Erin has done great work throughout the year to ensure that her classmates are not only registered to vote, but that they show up to the polls during election time," said Kathryn Ryan, Program Director for Inspire-WV. "Erin's passion for ensuring that every eligible individual's voice gets heard within our democracy is representative of her commitment to Inspire West Virginia, to her community, and to our state."
"The Honorary Secretary of State program is a fantastic way to become involved with the political system at a young age," Dodd said. "Through learning more about lawmaking policies on a state level and connecting with current elected officials, I hope to one day hold a similar position."
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): South Charleston High School Principal Michael Arbogast; Delegate Andrew Byrd, D-Kanawha; Honorary Secretary of State Erin Dodd; Secretary of State Mac Warner; and Inspire-WV Program Coordinators Olivia McCuskey and Kathryn Ryan.