Earl-Hubbard, Witherspoon-Kelley and TNT’s Robinson to be honored at September event.

Earl-Hubbard, Witherspoon-Kelley and TNT’s Robinson to be Honored at September Event

 

Tickets are available now for the annual Madison/Andersen Awards Breakfast, when the Washington Coalition for Open Government honors outstanding advocates for open government. The event takes place from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, September 23, 2016 at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle.

This year’s honorees are Seattle attorney Michele Earl-Hubbard, receiving the James Andersen Award and the law firm of Witherspoon Kelley, recognized for the James Madison Award. Recipient of the Kenneth F. Bunting Award for exceptional journalism goes to Sean Robinson for his work in The Tacoma News-Tribune.

Ticket prices are $45 for WCOG members and $65 for nonmembers; tables for 10 cost $450. A variety of sponsorships are also available. Reservations are available online now.

The Andersen Award, named in honor of the former State Supreme Court Justice and fierce advocate of open government, recognizes an individual or organization whose outstanding efforts have significantly advanced the work of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. Earl-Hubbard, president of Allied Law Group, is a founding member and former president of WCOG who has “devoted a good portion of her career fighting for the right of citizen access to government proceedings and information,” said George Erb, 2015 Andersen Award recipient, who nominated Earl-Hubbard. In particular, she has represented media in numerous access cases, including several before the State Supreme Court.

Earl-Hubbard, Michele

Michele Ear-Hubbard

“I was honored and humbled to be selected for an award named after my friend and mentor Justice Andersen,” Earl-Hubbard said, noting that she had served with Andersen on the inaugural WCOG legal committee. “Given all the amazing volunteers we have on WCOG, it was quite the honor to be named volunteer of the year. Last year we lost some amazing people, all past award-winners, and in their honor this year when there was a hole to be filled, I found myself saying ‘yes’ more. I did not do near what they did, and the hole they left in our organization, and in our hearts, cannot ever be truly filled.  But with all many other worthy volunteers, I am truly honored to be recognized this year.”

Witherspoon Kelley, with offices in Spokane, Washington and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has “an extended history of ongoing service to the cause of open government,” said WCOG board member Sam Pace in his nomination. He also noted the firm’s extensive and successful pro bono service to WCOG and others, and the consistent participation by Witherspoon Kelley attorneys on the WCOG board.

WK-Logo-with-Name-Large“One of Witherspoon Kelley’s early partners in the 1880s was instrumental in drafting Washington State’s constitution, including provisions relating to open government,” noted Duane M. Swinton, a principal with Witherspoon Kelley, whose primary practice is in media law. “The firm is proud to have continued this tradition by advocating for open government principles through its participation in numerous cases, both at the Superior Court and appellate court levels, many of which have set precedent concerning access to, among others, police and school records. Citizen access to information about how government operates is key in ensuring that government is responsive to and controlled by the people it represents.”

Sean Robinson mug. (Lui Kit Wong/Staff photographer)

Sean Robinson. Photo by Lui Kit Wong, News-Tribune.

The Bunting Award, in its second year, honors the late Ken Bunting, a founding WCOG board member, executive editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

This year’s recipient is Sean Robinson, who reported numerous stories in 2015 and 2016 scrutinizing Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, and in particular, his use of private devices for communications eventually determined to be public records. The Tacoma News Tribune relied on Washington’s Public Records Act to research and report the ongoing story and pursued disclosure in court.

 

 

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