CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Secretary of State Mac Warner is proud to announce that Nicholas County High School senior Ozan Ozbeker and junior Brad Bordelon 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 Wednesday morning in a ceremony held in the Secretary of State’s Office in the State Capitol, Secretary Warner introduced Ozbeker and Bordelon 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.
“Ozan Ozbeker and Brad Bordelon 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.
"Ozan Ozbeker and Brad Bordelon 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. “Ozbeker and Bordelon 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."
Ozbeker plans to pursue a career in petroleum engineering, while Bordelon plans to major in biology.
"I’m interested in being an Honorary Secretary of State because it will be an awesome opportunity to understand the inner workings of my state government and especially of the Secretary of State's office," Ozbeker said. "I believe the personal experience I will gain from this opportunity will reinforce my decision to go into politics later in my life."
"This new program will benefit me by teaching me how to formally speak with our elected officials," Bordelon said. "I'll be able to pick up on the language that they so commonly use, also catching their attention later down the road in life when I use the same jargon that I was exposed to."
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): Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur; Senator Greg Boso, R-Nicholas; Ozan Ozbeker; Brad Bordelon; Delegate Jordan Hill, R-Nicholas; and Secretary of State Mac Warner.