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Mayor, Board of Aldermen honor Kid Governor

New Hampshire Kid Governor Lola Giannelli stands by her desk Tuesday at City Hall in Nashua prior to being recognized by Mayor Jim Donchess and the Board of Aldermen.

NASHUA – New Hampshire’s first Kid Governor, Lola Giannelli, received recognition during the Tuesday Nashua Board of Aldermen meeting.

Giannelli, a Sunset Heights Elementary School fifth-grader, is a lover of animals. She ran her campaign on the platform of ending animal cruelty.

Since Giannelli was elected, she has been working to organize food and clothing drives, as well as an after-school club, through which she and her classmates make dog toys to help raise awareness to her cause.

Giannelli said she hopes to gather enough support by collecting signatures to help pass a law in New Hampshire that would be similar to one in California. The Golden State law mandates that pet stores offering dogs, cats or rabbits for retail sale only obtain them from animal shelters or rescue groups.

“I’m especially trying to pass that because of the puppy factories, because I know it’s not always safe there,” she said about working toward introducing new legislation by gathering signatures. “If it comes from a shelter, it will be taken care of before, and then you can buy them. They may not be in super good condition, but you know that they’ll be loved.”

With her family and members of New Hampshire Institute for Civic Education in attendance to support her, Giannelli was presented with a resolution of recognition at the beginning of the meeting, during which Alderwoman Patricia Klee granted her a gift from the board – a pin representing her fight as an animal rights activist.

Prior to the meeting, Mayor Jim Donchess, who has a desk set up for Giannelli right outside the entrance to his office, spoke about how impressed he is with Giannelli and her platform.

“We’re very proud to have Lola as a student her from Nashua. Her platform, she’s very much in favor of animal rights and I think she’s got a well thought-out plan,” Donchess said. “And it’s very nice to honor her here at City Hall.”

When she was inaugurated in January, Giannelli swore in her Executive Council; fifth-graders Evelyn Ellis-Haines of Canterberry Elementary in Canterbury, and Ben Vachon of Beaver Meadow School in Concord. Before her recognition, she reiterated her plans to continue working with them toward achieving their goals.

“I’m encouraging them to do what I’m doing at my school at their school,” Giannelli said. “Since I’m doing the dog toy club at my school, I’m encouraging them to do that as well.”

Giannelli said she was honored to be elected and to receive the recognition. She said she’s working very hard in her role, and is still doing her best to inspire members of the community to help animals.

“I feel great,” Giannelli said. “I’ve been recognized a lot, but especially from the mayor, it feels like an honor to be recognized.”

The Kid Governor program was created by the Connecticut Democracy Center for fifth-graders.

In the New Hampshire, the program is led by the New Hampshire Institute for Civic Education, featuring a curriculum that reached more than 450 students during last year’s run. The program coincided with November’s Election Day.

Leading up to the election, candidates chose platforms on which to run their campaigns and presented their ideas to the classes. Upon being elected by their respective schools, students made campaign videos, which they presented to other fifth-grade classes participating in the program.

Mathew Plamondon may be reached at 594-1244, or at mplamondon@nashuatelegraph.com.