In a packed ceremony at Hartford’s Old State House, 2019 Kid Governor Ella Briggs was sworn in.
“I’m the old governor, I get to hang out with the kid governor,” joked Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Connecticut) at the beginning of the ceremony.
Every year, the state’s 5th graders elect a student with a specific platform. The 2018 Kid Governor Megan Kasperowski made videos and helped people with cancer. The 2019 Kid Governor ran on a very different platform.
“I’m looking forward to having your help to keep our schools safe and to spread the message that love is love,” said Briggs in her campaign video.
Briggs wants to educate students and teachers about accepting everyone.
“To start gay-straight aliances, otherwise known as GSAs, and safe spaces where members of the LGBTQ community and their allies can find pride in who they are,” Briggs said in her inauguration address
Comptroller Kevin Lembo (D – Connecticut) is the state’s highest ranking openly gay politician. He remembers being Briggs’ age.
“I remember telling my mom I was different at 10 and 11. I also remember not having a school community that I could be honest with. Not being able to be out as a gay person with them,” said Lembo. “You are, not only in your platform, but in your person and in your bravery, showing that we are one community and we all need to be safe.”
Briggs not only embraces who she is, but she knows that this is a year that has brought a lot of change, especially in congress.
“Including the first Native American women, the first Muslim woman, the youngest female representative, the first openly bisexual woman, and our very own Jahana Hayes,” said Briggs.
Hayes, the first African-American congresswoman ever elected from Connecticut had tears in her eyes listening to Ella speak.
“You guys just make me smile and remind me of why this work is so important in what we do,” said the former teacher to the room full of students.
“Let’s make pride, hope, love happen!” shouted Briggs at the end of her speech. Now she will spend the next year making that a reality.