Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Friday in Lexington took part in her 95th naturalization ceremony since taking office, welcoming 37 new citizens from 21 countries. The ceremony was held at the United States District Courthouse, Eastern District of Kentucky.
The ceremony included the administration of the oath of citizenship required to become Americans at the federal courthouse. Grimes spoke to the new citizens and their families about the duties of civic engagement, voter participation, and commitment to improving Kentucky, continuing her historic voter registration efforts.
“Today marks 95 times I have witnessed new citizens take the oath of citizenship. Just like the first time, it still stirs pride in my heart. Like all the thousands I have met before you, I am so proud to call each of you fellow Americans,” said Grimes. “The most precious right you have gained today is the right to vote – a voice in this democracy. We need you to use your voice and vote.”
The Honorable U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew A. Stinnett presided over the ceremony.
“Immigration is the driver of this democratic experience,” said Judge Stinnett. “All of us are called to live up to the same oath — to pursue what’s right, not what’s convenient. It’s an honor and a privilege to preside over today’s ceremony.”
The Secretary of State’s staff attend each naturalization ceremony held in Kentucky to greet new citizens and answer questions regarding voting and registration.
Grimes told the citizens they have a responsibility to participate in the betterment of society and register to vote at GoVoteKY.com.
“I am urging you today to go online and register to vote. And then cast your vote in every election. A minority of people are usually determining who we send to city hall, county government, to Frankfort and to Washington, D.C. That’s unacceptable, and you can help change it. Our future is made by people who vote,” said Grimes.