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Kids Get Into Inaugural Spirit

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Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes kicked off their inauguration weekend with children who attended the Madison Kids Gala at the Madison Children’s Museum this past Saturday.

“This is such an important day for the children of Wisconsin, an important time,” Evers said.

Barnes and Evers spoke after a welcoming performance by the James C. Wright Middle School Music String Scholars and DJ Nick Nice. Evers brought his youngest granddaughter on stage as her mother, Ever’s youngest daughter, watched her father address Madison children and their families.

“This is an important day, not just for Mandela and me but for you because you have two people that are going to care about you,” Evers said.

Activities for the weekend included a fun “kids oriented” outing for children of all ages in three separate locations across the state including Appleton, Milwaukee and Madison. Evers’ office partnered with the Madison Children’s Museum and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Dane County.

“We’re so delighted Governor-Elect Tony Evers and Lieutenant Governor- Elect Mandela Barnes decided to partner with us for these inaugural activities,” Big Brother, Big Sisters of Dane County CEO Sandy Morales said.

Evers said children should have the opportunity to engage in the weekend’s festivities especially since education was a big focus on his campaign. Both Barnes and Evers confirmed they will begin their first few weeks in office solving issues around budget and Wisconsin schools.

“It’s very exciting to be at the Kids Inaugural Gala because our whole campaign was about putting children first,” Barnes said.

Evers said children should feel critically engaged in the statewide election process and taught how to contribute to society. Madison Children’s Museum President and CEO Deborah Gilpin said the museum plans a special museum themed election for children so kids can learn the importance of voting. Evers said allowing children to participate and catering to their needs will help the state overall.

“We agree with Governor Evers when he says what’s best for kids is best for adults,” Gilpin said.

Infants, toddlers and bigger children arrived with their parents and family members to play and explore the inside of the museum while tables were set up for them to explore resources from Big Brothers, Big Sisters and grab food at the family-friendly reception.

“It was exciting to be a part of the inauguration and make them [her children] more aware of what’s going on,” parent Katie Hirsch said.

Barnes and Evers were not the only politicians or statewide figures in attendance. The recently-named Secretary of Safety and Professional Services Dawn Crim and Madison mayoral candidate Mo Cheeks also came with their families. After Barnes and Evers gave their speeches, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor addressed questions asked by young reporters.

“We have a moral and legal obligation that kids are good citizens,” Evers said.

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