2016 – David McKinley

David Bennett McKinley was born in Wheeling in 1947. He attended public schools and worked his way through college graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Civil Engineering.  After college he spent the next 12 years in the construction industry and taught night classes in local technical colleges.

David then established McKinley and Associates – an architectural and engineering company that has grown to include offices in Wheeling and Charleston, WV and Washington, PA. Duringhis career as a Professional Engineer, David has been on the Board of Directors of the state engineering society and on the Board of the National Society of Professional Engineers representing the interests of West Virginia.

As a successful former small businessman, David has created hundreds of jobs and understands the vital role of small businesses in creating private sector jobs and strengthening the economy. He has been recognized twice by West Virginia Executive Magazine

2016 – Shelly Moore Capito

Shelley Moore Capito was elected by the people of West Virginia to the United States Senate in 2014. She is the first female U.S. Senator in West Virginia’s history and was elected with the largest margin of victory for a Republican in state history – winning more than 62 percent of the vote and all 55 counties.

After serving West Virginia’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years, and as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates for four years prior, Shelley decided to run for Senate with the goal of being an even stronger voice for the Mountain State. She also saw an opportunity to restore order to a Senate stuck in gridlock for far too long.

Shelley believes that the challenges of our day demand bipartisan solutions and cooperation across the aisle to advance legislation that benefits West Virginia and the

Guest Speaker – Senator Joe Manchin

Senator Joe Manchin

Senator Manchin has served in several leadership capacities on various associations, including: Chairman of the National Governors Association, Chairman of the Southern States Energy Board, President of the Council of State Governments, Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Association.

Sen. Manchin served as Secretary of State from 2000 to 2004, and his office was known for excellent customer service. He was a state legislator from 1982 to 1996, where he earned a reputation for standing up for West Virginians.

Sen. Manchin became a successful businessman after attending West Virginia University on a football scholarship.

Sen. Manchin is an avid pilot, outdoorsman, hunter, angler and motorcyclist. He has been married for more than four decades to the former Gayle Conelly of Beckley. They have three children: Heather, Joseph IV and Brooke, and are the proud grandparents of Joseph V, Sophie, Kelsey, Madeline, Chloe, Jack,

State Treasurer John Perdue

Treasurer John Perdue

The honorable John D. Perdue is West Virginia’s 24th State Treasurer and is currently serving his fifth term in office. In 2015, Treasurer Perdue will become West Virginia’s longest-serving state treasurer, surpassing Richard Talbott (D-Barbour) who occupied the office from 1933-1951.

Treasurer Perdue has served the people of West Virginia for more than 40 years. He started his public service career with the Department of Agriculture in 1973. During his time there he held several positions, including the title of Assistant Commissioner. In 1989 he became executive assistant to former Governor Gaston Caperton and served as a member of his executive staff for eight years.

Since taking office in 1997, Treasurer Perdue has worked diligently to make West Virginia a better place for families, business owners and citizens of all ages. As the banker of state government, Treasurer Perdue manages more than $13 billion of state money annually.

Guest Speaker – Secretary of State Natalie Tennant

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant

West Virginia’s 29th Secretary of State

Throughout her administration, she has been a leader in promoting open and engaging government and business friendly initiatives. Tennant has streamlined the Secretary of State’s Office to make it more efficient and cost-effective while improving services for voters, candidates, business owners, and citizens who depend on the office for important information about charities and administrative law.

Under Tennant’s leadership, the Secretary of State’s Office has met unprecedented challenges and promoted bold initiatives. Most recently, Secretary Tennant spearheaded legislation to allow for electronic voter registration in West Virginia.

In 2013, thanks to years of cost saving and efficiency programs, Secretary Tennant was able to return $3 million of taxpayer money to general revenue.

Secretary Tennant’s vision also includes pilot projects that improved voter turnout and decreased costs, secure community voting locations to make it more convenient to cast a ballot, online annual report

2014 ALA RGS State elected officials

Rhododendron Girls State 2014 selected Bonnie Walton as RGS Governor Wednesday evening.

Here is a list of the state elected officals:

Governor: Bonnie Walton

Secretary of State: Peyton Panger

Auditor: Kathryn Quillen

Treasurer: Maggie France

Commissioner of Agriculture: Taylor Stewart

Attorney General: Ashley Bruner

Supreme Court of Appeals: 

Jillian Kinder, Chief

Mackenzie Bosley

Tori Anderson

Genna Liu

Jana El-Khatib


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2014 ALA RGS Media Advisory

2014 Rhododendron Girls State Media Advisory

WHEELING, W.VA. (June 7, 2014) — The American Legion Auxiliary Dept. of West Virginia is hosting its annual Rhododendron Girls State program on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University, June 8-13, 2014.

Nearly 400 rising high school senior girls from across West Virginia will take part in the program creating the 51st state in the union for one week each year by setting up city, county and state governments to teach the girls hands on about  citizenship, leadership and patriotism. Girls will also participate in classes on college prep, leadership, city, county and state government, as well as electives in journalism, public safety, physical fitness and chorus.

They will file for offices, campaign with posters and speeches; vote in primary and general elections and end the week with inauguration of their elected officials.

To honor America’s veterans and active-duty military the citizens will take part in

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Complete Registration

2016 Rhododendron Girls State is less than a month away. We need every girl selected as a citizen to register immediately. If you are having trouble with registration, getting your forms completed, need assistance, PLEASE email us at help@wvgirlsstate.org


Contact your Local Unit Representative (who selected you to attend)
Contact Ann Buchanan, Registrar at AnnBuch@aol.com or 304-654-9932
Contact Michelle Sirbaugh, Director at michelle.girlsstate@yahoo.com

It is vital that you contact someone so the vacant place can be filled. An organization furnished the registration of $200.00 per citizen that cannot be refunded after May 15th. NO SHOWS are students who do not show up and do not contact the program with a reason why. A letter will be mailed to the contributor of the registration, to the girl’s school and to the girl’s parent(s)/guardian declaring the student as a NO SHOW. It is vital to the

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