CONCORD — Out of 100 girls from across New Hampshire who submitted essays for Gov. Chris Sununu's "Governor For a Day," a winner was announced on Wednesday: Molly Robert, senior class president of Kennett High School.
A statement issued from the governor's office says it best:
“The Governor For A Day contest, was a unique opportunity for the next generation to explore their passion for the Granite State's long and proud tradition of public service," it said.
“Over the last month, we received many excellent and thoughtful submissions from across the state. After careful consideration, I am excited to announce Molly Robert from Kennett High School as the winner of the Governor For A Day contest.”
The governor's office said June 6 has been tentatively set aside for Robert to serve as governor.
Robert is the daughter of Julie Thompson of North Conway.
Back in March, when students across the U.S. were walking out of school calling for stronger gun control and school safety reform, Robert helped organize an orderly walkout at Kennett. As such she was interviewed on NPR's "Morning Edition" by host Rick Ganley.
Reached for comment Wednesday, Robert said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to head down to Concord in a few weeks and be governor, if only for a day.
"A few months ago I had the opportunity to meet with Governor Sununu and talk about school safety following the student walkouts. When I met with the governor, I was surprised that we agreed on a lot of topics — considering that I am *very* liberal and he is after all a Republican governor," Robert said via email.
"I remember leaving the governor’s office and only wishing that we could have more conversations like that in this country. Conversations where people of different political ideologies can sit down, and talk about their opinions — without being inflammatory, without name calling, and most importantly without speaking ill of others.
"I am honored to have been chosen as governor for a day, and I am looking forward to learning more about the legislative process and discussing how we can bridge the political divide in our state and country.”
The contest was first announced March 28.
"As part of Women's History Month — a celebration of the critical role women have played in New Hampshire's economy, culture, and social fabric — Governor Sununu has officially launched the 'Governor for a Day' competition. In partnership with Girls Inc., Girl Scouts, and Granite Girls State, the 'Governor for a Day' competition presents girls in New Hampshire middle and high school with a unique opportunity to participate in the Granite State's proud tradition of public service.
"As the father of a young daughter, it is important that the next generation of leaders in New Hampshire feel empowered to lead," Sununu said. "The Granite State has a long and proud tradition of public service, and we have to ensure that it stays that way for generations to come."
Applicants were asked to answer the question, "If I were Governor for a Day, I would…" and submit their essays by April 30.
Robert's winning essay appears below:
"In today’s political climate, it seems the fundamental sense of respect and cooperation for those with differing political ideologies has vanished. The rhetoric between the right and left has become increasingly polarized over the years, only to be exacerbated by the most recent election. There is little willingness from both democrats and republicans to concede points of their argument, in order to create multi-faceted solutions that will improve the lives of their constituents. Over the past year or so, I have been saddened by the ever growing political divide in this country. However, I do still strongly believe that we as Granite Staters work better together, than we do alone. Which, is exactly why I am applying to be Governor for a day.
"If I were Governor for a day I would learn from New Hampshire’s legislators, on both sides of the aisle, as to how young people can take a more involved role in the legislative process, in order to make a difference in their communities. I would also meet with the Executive Council to gain a deeper understanding of the collaboration that takes place between the Councilors and Governor to ensure the functioning of our State Government.
"My primary goals if I were Governor for a day, would be to stress the importance of empathy in politics, and encourage young people in New Hampshire to become involved in our State’s government. I am confident that my generation will lead our State towards a bright future, and I wish to be Governor for a day to begin this process."