MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Secretary of the State Denise Merrill interrupted an assembly at John F. Kennedy Elementary School with a remote election announcement. The votes have been counted and 5th grader Jessica Brocksom will be Connecticut’s next Governor. Kid Governor, that is.

The students had been told the assembly was about charity fundraising, but that was just a cover story so they wouldn’t ruin the surprise for Brocksom. The state’s Kid Governor program is run by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network.

“We launched the program last year, really as a way to teach kids about civics and state government, but also about civic participation,” explained Brian Cofrancesco, who runs the program.

The first kid governor was Elena Tipton from East Hartford, she was elected last November, running on a platform of kindness. This year, there were seven finalists from across the state who made campaign videos. The program is just for fifth graders. Around 4,000 of them voted this year, representing 45 Connecticut towns, and also representing a big increase from last year’s participation. Brocksom’s campaign was all about stopping animal cruelty.

“I just chose something that I felt very passionate about and I knew animals was one of my things because not many people pay attention to animals,” Brocksom said in her first post-election news conference. Her platform includes tougher penalties for those convicted of animal abuse. During the next year, Jessica will go around the state making speeches and encouraging kids to do something to help out.

“You can just have a bin and have it like a food drive once or twice a year and you can donate a lot to an animal shelter to help with the animals that have been abused,” said Brocksom.

In January, Brocksom, her classmates, and the 6 other finalists will all be at the Old Statehouse in Hartford for her inauguration,