Salem, OR—Oregonians from across the state were recognized this week by Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan with awards from the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS). Recipients of these awards were chosen for their work and commitment to our shared values of civic engagement, public service, democracy, civil rights, voter access, and more.
The NASS John Lewis Youth Leadership Award was created in February 2021 to honor the Late Congressman and Civil Rights Icon John Lewis. It is awarded to one young person who demonstrates civic-minded leadership, has passion for social justice, and works to improve the quality of life for their fellow citizens. This year, Secretary Fagan chose to award this honor to Margarita "Magy" Viveros, a volunteer with Family Forward Oregon.
“Magy’s incredible efforts to bring affordable and accessible childcare, paid leave, and job protections to the people of Oregon are an inspiration. I’m so happy to be able to thank her with the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award on behalf of every Oregonian who has benefitted from her dedication and persistence,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan.
Five Oregonians were also recognized with the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award.
These awards honor individuals whose outstanding service and dedication further the mission of the National Association of Secretaries of State within the states. “Oregon is fortunate to have a wealth of individuals and organizations working to improve our state by making our democracy more accessible,“ said Secretary Fagan. “From promoting democracy and civic engagement to advocating for immigrant and refugee communities, these Medallion Award winners are making a tremendous difference for Oregonians. I’m grateful to them for their service to our state.”
The NASS Medallion Award winners are:
Andrew Taylor, Douglas County’s Chief Deputy Clerk and Elections Director
As Douglas County’s Chief Deputy Clerk and Elections Director, Andrew Taylor demonstrated a commitment to excellence and a passion for the Oregon Elections Process. In the last year, Andrew worked to ensure voters were fully able to participate in both the primary and general elections despite both the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating Archie Creek Forest Fires.
Chrissy Zaugg, Chief Deputy Wasco County Clerk
As a Girl Scouts leader in The Dalles and as Wasco County’s Chief Deputy Clerk, Chrissy showed exceptional creativity and resourcefulness in the pursuit of transparency in the democratic process. Chrissy and her two daughters Ella and Aralyn transformed their Girl Scouts elections and civics event into a fabulous video called “Path of the Ballot”.
The video, which was shot, produced, and voiced entirely by Ella and Aralyn, provided transparency on the elections process, and received rave reviews from local political parties and citizens across the county.
Unite Oregon Washington County Member Volunteers
Informed by each of their own lived experiences, Piyawee, Carine, and Nina began volunteering with Unite Oregon in 2017 to advocate for immigrant and refugee communities throughout Washington County. Piyawee Ruenjinda’s focuses on her community of immigrants and refugees who lack formal education and have limited English proficiency (LEP). Carina Arendes experience as a low-income mother guides her work on affordable housing and transit equity. Recognizing the underrepresentation of her community, Chung-huey (Nina) Kung has invested in her own leadership so she can bring her communities voice to the commissions, boards, and legislative bodies that need to hear it the most.
Mary Beth Herkert, former Director of Civics Education for Oregon Secretary of State
As the former Director of Civics Education for the Oregon Secretary of State, Mary Beth has had an indelible impact in promoting youth civic engagement while serving Oregon. As a part of the late Secretary Richardson’s administration, Mary Beth helped launched the award-winning Kid Governor Program in Oregon.
Her thoughtful approach and a deep investment in students brought a new, interactive way of teaching civics to classrooms across the state.
Portland Trail Blazers
As Oregon’s beloved and influential NBA Franchise Team, the Trail Blazers have used their platform to proudly promote democracy, civic engagement, and voting. The Trail Blazers 2020 Vote initiative unabashedly celebrated these values by directly helping fans check their voter registration status, complete the 2020 census, and successfully return their ballot. Oregonians learned why civic participation is so critical, were offered custom Trail Blazers Vote 2020 gear, and connected with nonprofits that promote civic engagement and voting.
Secretary Fagan's video congratulating each of the award recipients can be found here.