Tuesday, June 17, 2008

WA Coalition for Open Government presents a special program on Washington's Public Records and Open Meetings Laws

The Daily World and the Washington Coalition for Open Government will present a special program focusing on Washington’s Public Records and Open Meetings laws from 6:00 to 8:30 PM on Monday, June 23 at the Hoquiam Timberland Library, 420 Seventh Street in Hoquiam.

A panel of expert presenters will fuel the discussion on securing and preserving the public’s legal right to access the records and proceedings of the government agencies created to serve the people of the state. The panelists include: former State Representative Toby Nixon, Secretary of State Sam Reed, State Representative and House Majority leader Lynn Kessler, State Archivist Jerry Handfield, and attorney William Crittenden. The Daily World's editor and publisher John Hughes will moderate the discussion.

The forum is free and open to all, and questions and comments from the audience are welcome.

John C. Hughes, editor and publisher of The Daily World at Aberdeen, is a past president of Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington, a trustee of the Washington State Historical Society and a member of the "Sunshine Committee" evaluating why certain public records are exempt from public access. In his 42-year career, he has been a reporter, editor and photographer and has received 50 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He also received a Blethen Award for investigative reporting. He is an alumnus of the University of Puget Sound and the University of Maryland

Toby Nixon, current President of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, served as State Representative for the 45th District from January, 2002, through January, 2007. During his term in the legislature, Nixon distinguished himself as a leading advocate for the public’s right to know what its government is doing. He introduced a long list of open government bills and served as ranking member of the House Government Operations committee. As a community activist, Nixon serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations. In his professional life, he works as Senior Standards Program Manager in the Windows Device Platform Group at Microsoft in Redmond; he’s held various positions with Microsoft since January of 1993.

Sam Sumner Reed is Washington's 14th Secretary of State. Since taking office in 2000, He has led the State of Washington into the 21st Century and secured its legacy. In 2004, he launched the nation's first state government digital archives to rescue disappearing electronic history. Prior to his service as Secretary of State, Sam was elected Thurston County Auditor five times and served as the Assistant Secretary of State under Lud Kramer and Bruce Chapman. Governor Dan Evans appointed him Director of the Urban Affairs Commission and the Constitutional Reform Commission. He is past President of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and also served as an advisor to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission from 2005 to 2007. He is currently a member of the Olympia Kiwanis Club and sits on the Washington State Historical Society Board of Trustees, TVW's Board of Directors, the YMCA Youth and Government Board, and the State Capitol Committee. He attended Washington State University where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Social Studies and Master's Degree in Political Science.

Jerry Handfield is Washington’s State Archivist. Handfield, who served as Indiana State Archivist until accepting this position in 2001, joined the state of Washington with more than 25 years of experience in archives, history, and records management. The State Archivist is responsible for documenting the history of state government and ensuring records created by Washington's state and local government offices are efficiently managed and stored Handfield is a national leader in the effort to ensure the retention and accessibility of government documents that are published in electronic form. He has also served as the open government group’s president.

Lynn Kessler is serving in her 17th year in the Washington State House, and her eleventh year as Majority Leader. In addition to her Leadership duties, she sits on the House Appropriations and Rules committees, the Washington State Arts Commission, and is the only state legislator appointed to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Board of Directors. Lynn is also a member of the Grays Harbor Economic Development Council Board and the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations. She has served on numerous committees and boards in her community, including ten years as a trustee at Grays Harbor Community College, where she is a past chair, and was the first female president of the Aberdeen Rotary.

William Crittenden is an attorney in private practice. William represents parties in litigation and appeals involving land use regulation, freedom of speech and access to public records. He has represented WCOG and the League of Women Voters as amicus curiae in cases involving public records and voting rights. Before entering private practice He served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Barbara Durham of the Washington Supreme Court and Judge William W. Baker of the Court of Appeals. William is a 1992 graduate of the University of Washington School of Law.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government is a statewide non-partisan, nonprofit group of individuals and organizations dedicated to strengthening and preserving the public’s right to know what its government is doing. The Coalition has presented a series of similar programs around the state to educate the citizens of Washington on their rights of access.

For more information, contact Washington Coalition for Open Government, 6351 Seaview Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98107-2664 or on the web at www.washingtoncog.org
or call (206) 782-0393.

WCOG is building a network of citizens who support open government laws and practices. Please send to info@washingtoncog.org your name, address, phone, and e-mail address. We will notify you, as they arrive, of threats to open government and opportunities to strengthen it.

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