ELKINS – Speaking to the citizens of American Legion Auxiliary Rhododendron Girls State at Davis & Elkins College, West Virginia Secretary of State Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Queen emphasized the importance of voting and encouraged the young leaders to consider public service. Queen’s address came on the eve of 94 municipal elections slated across the Mountain State, an opportunity that brings few to the polls, he said.
“This coming year, everybody in this room will be eligible to register to vote,” Queen said, adding that West Virginia has a unique history in the right to vote for young people.
Queen explained that the late U.S. Sen. Jennings Randolph of West Virginia authored the 26th Amendment reducing the voting age from 21 to 18. The process took 29 years, and when the amendment was signed into law, Randolph came to the Davis & Elkins College campus in search of a student who would become the first 18-year-old to register to vote. That student was Ella Mae Thompson Haddix, now a retired Randolph County teacher.
The 26th Amendment not only allowed young people to vote, it allowed them to enter the arena of public service, Queen explained.
“The youngest legislator in the history of the United States was elected at your age as a senior at Hedgesville High School in 2014,” Queen said. “Saira Blair was 18 years old when she was elected.”
Queen further encouraged the citizens to continue their leadership beyond Girls State.
“Those of you attending Girls State will become leaders throughout West Virginia. In this room are future city council members, mayors, school board officers, county officials and judges, future legislators,” Queen said. “The state’s first female to serve as West Virginia governor may be right here in this room.”
Queen also outlined another milestone in voter rights – the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the Amendment gave women the right to vote.
“Later this year, Secretary (Mac) Warner is going to announce a statewide recognition to acknowledge those women who served every county in an elected position throughout the state in the last 100 years,” Queen said. “I challenge you on behalf of Secretary Warner to celebrate and recognize the women who have served before you and on whose shoulders each of you stand today as city council members, as mayors and legislators.”
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.
Davis & Elkins College, in compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the West Virginia Human Rights Act is an equal opportunity institution that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, including sexual and gender-based harassment, assault, and violence, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, gender identification, or genetic information or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, admission to and enrollment with the College, including, but not limited to, recruitment, selection, hiring, placement, transfer, promotion, training, compensation, benefits, discipline, termination, educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, scholarship and loan programs, housing, athletic and other College-administered programs and activities. For inquiries regarding Title IX and/or 504 compliance and/or the filing of a complaint, contact the College’s Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator using the information below or by filing a report online at http://www.dewv.edu/form/title-ix-incident-report-form.
Interim Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources
Liberal Arts Hall, Room 203
(304) 637-1344 │ firstname.lastname@example.org