THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue spoke Monday to the roughly 300 girls from across the state who are attending this year’s American Legion Auxiliary West Virginia Rhododendron Girls State.
Purdue focused on the importance of education as well as paying bills on time and being able to balance a budget during the event, taking place this week on the campus of Davis & Elkins College.
“There are two important things I’m going to talk about today. One is education. Education is the key that will open up the doors of opportunity within your life,” Purdue said.
He stressed to the group, comprised of high school students, that higher education can positively impact your life going forward.
“A college education changed my life, and it will change yours,” he said.
Purdue added that an education will allow you to be whatever you want to be, whether it’s a doctor, police officer or even treasurer.
“You are the key. How badly do you want it? How badly do you want to change your life?” he asked.
Purdue shared a story about his mother, who urged him to strive to achieve his goals.
“My mother always told me if you work hard and play by the rules, the cream will rise to the top and doors will open up for you,” he said. “She was absolutely right.”
He urged every participant in the room to use their time at Girls State to think about what they want to do with their lives and decide where they want to attend college.
“I encourage you today, as you decide what college you want to go to, to work hard because that will help those doors of opportunity to open for you,” he said.
Purdue added students should also reflect on sacrifices their parents made to allow them to have opportunities to further their education. He also urged them to pay their bills on time and avoid getting a credit card during their college career in an effort to come out of school with a degree as opposed to extra bills.
Perdue is West Virginia’s 24th state treasurer and is currently serving his sixth term. He is West Virginia’s longest-serving state treasurer with 20 years in office. He gained that distinction in 2015 when he surpassed Richard Talbott, D-Barbour, who occupied the office from 1933-1951, according to the West Virginia State Treasurer Office website.
Perdue has served the people of West Virginia for more than 40 years. He started his public service career with the Department of Agriculture in 1973. During his time there he held several positions, including the title of assistant commissioner. In 1989 he became executive assistant to former Gov. Gaston Caperton and served as a member of his executive staff for eight years.
As the banker of state government, Perdue manages more than $13 billion of state money annually.
The 76th Girls State session began Sunday evening on the campus of Davis & Elkins College. Each day this week, the Girls State participants will hear from some of West Virginia’s top government officials.
Secretary of State Mac Warner and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are scheduled to speak later in the week. Sen. Joe Manchin is also planning to participate during the week. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito spoke Sunday evening.
In accordance with Girls State’s emphasis on veterans, several activities are planned to pay tribute to those who have served our country and to educate the citizens about the role of American Legion Auxiliary members. Former POW and Iraq War veteran Jessica Lynch will be honored in a special ceremony at the week’s conclusion.