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Gordon Padget, Charles Lie and Pam Wascher with Toby Nixon.

2018 Madison Andersen Award Winners

Citizen activists and journalists were among those honored at the annual Madison Andersen Bunting Awards Breakfast recently, where the Washington Coalition for Open Government recognizes outstanding contributions for the cause of transparency.

This year, the Coalition acknowledged a large cast of participants who were responsible for preventing the passage of Senate Bill 6617, which would have exempted the state legislature from the Public Records Act. The event took place Sept. 21 at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle.

Receiving James Andersen Award for service in furthering the work of the Coalition was Mike Fancher, former executive editor of The Seattle Times.

The Kenneth F. Bunting Award was presented to Rachel La Corte, Associated Press correspondent in Olympia, to honor journalism that uses, advances or educates about the state’s access laws.

Sharing the 2018 Bunting Award are the media of Washington state who urged the governor’s veto of SB 6617 through front-page editorials and television commentary.

For the 2018 James Madison Award, WCOG recognized the people of Washington for their advocacy of transparency. Approximately 20,000 individuals called or wrote to the governor opposing SB 6617. Representing the people were Pam Wascher, Charles Lie, and Gordon Padget, WCOG members who lobbied the governor.

Padget, along with Kasia Pierzga and David Zeeck, received the Coalition’s Key Award for testifying in Olympia against SB 6617 on short notice.

Also receiving a Key Award were Asia Fields and Erasmus Baxter, who as student journalists at Western Washington University relied on public records requests and other public documents, as well as extensive interviews, to shine light on the way the university handles complaints of sexual harassment and assault.

Additional information about all the award winners is available here.

Transparency and public participation are building blocks of good government.

The Coalition was formed to act as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated promoting and defending the People’s right to know in matters of public interest and in the conduct of the public’s business. The Coalition’s driving vision is to help foster open government processes, supervised by an informed and engaged citizenry, which is the cornerstone of democracy.

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