By Janelle Burrell

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The election of Kamala Harris as vice president was historic for so many reasons and its significance has left a “lasting impression” on some of the country’s youngest citizens, including one little girl.

From our area, who was so inspired by the vice president-elect that she’s now giving politics a run.

It was a moment that had little girls and boys around the nation closely watching and one youngster, in particular, is not taking that message to heart.

“Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities and to the children of our country, regardless of your gender,” Harris said. “Our country has sent you a clear message, dream with ambition, lead with conviction.”

Seven-year-old Aya Ruggiero is a second-grader at Kipp Philadelphia Elementary Academy. The election of Kamala Harris inspired her to run for office herself.

“My name is Aya Ruggiero and I hope to be your next class president,” Aya said.

She’s competing to be president, representing all of the second-grade classes at her school.

Aya says she got the idea to run for office from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

“Because I see Kamala Harris and Joe Biden running for president and I wanted to run for president for class because they are great leaders for little girls and little boys,” Aya said.

Aya’s self-produced campaign video has already helped her secure a spot as one of four finalists.

“In the first round she won by a landslide,” her father said. “Everything she did, that she said and wore was all her vision.”

Her mother says she is imaginative and independent.

“Once she gets an idea in her head, we just try to support her best we can and encourage it,” her mom said.

This pint-sized presidential hopeful has some very big goals if elected.

“I would help plan fun activities and be a leader to my classmates and a good role model to them and make sure everyone does the right thing,” Aya said.

Her mom says she hopes her daughter “continues to be encouraged to dream big and work hard and to never let anyone tell her she can’t do something that she sets her mind to.”

Aya, who has been closely following the national presidential campaign process, says she’ll be watching with pride on Inauguration Day as vice president-elect Kamala Harris is sworn in.

She is Black and Asian American, like Harris, and says she was just “so happy” to see someone who looked like her as an example.

As for her presidential bid, next week is election day and Eyewitness News is wishing her the best of luck.


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Janelle Burrell