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WCOG Sets Priorities for 2020

A Message from WCOG Executive Director, Juli Bunting:

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” –James Madison

Juli Bunting

Juli Bunting

Founding Father James Madison understood the success of democracy requires an informed citizenry. He believed that knowing what government is doing in our name is the very cornerstone of self-governing. I share that belief and so it’s my pleasure to be writing to you as the new Executive Director of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I extend our wishes for a wonderful 2020.

The coalition faces some challenges in the New Year, but intermingled with those challenges are opportunities to grow as we seek to make government at all levels in Washington the most open, accessible, and transparent in the country. As always, our members and supporters are the backbone of this very broad, nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition, and we are truly grateful for your support.

The 2020 legislative session is underway in Olympia and, as always, WCOG is monitoring proposals by lawmakers that would impact our state’s transparency laws. I encourage all our members to read the legislative priorities from WCOG President Toby Nixon. In addition to working tirelessly to protect your right to know, Toby is committed to keeping us informed about legislation affecting the state’s open government laws.

As the new Executive Director, I’m committed to growing our membership, strengthening our potential to make an impact, and increasing our visibility. Engaging folks in good government advocacy is not always easy. We all have busy lives and we all want to ingest as much information as possible in as short amount of time as possible. But strengthening democracy is a noble cause and we intend to carry that message across the state to the halls of city, county, and state government.

This year, join us in our commitment to keeping government open and accountable.

  • If you are already a member, look for increased communications and more opportunities to actively engage with coalition leaders and others involved in open government.
  • Check that your membership dues are current.
  • Plan to attend and consider sponsoring a table at our Madison Andersen Bunting Awards breakfast in the fall. Details will be posted in the coming weeks.
  • Please note our new address: WCOG, PO Box 2633, Redmond, WA 98073.
  • If you are not a member, explore membership.
  • Members and prospective members please consider getting involved in some of the ways below.
  • Invite us to speak to your civic, school, or charitable organization. We have a nonpartisan, good-government message about the importance of open government and are always willing to promote the cause of transparency. Feel free to email me at info@washingtoncog.org to inquire about upcoming opportunities.
  • Make plans now to attend our annual Madison Andersen Bunting Awards breakfast in September. This is our annual, premier event and fundraiser. It’s a time to gather with board members, public officials, journalists, attorneys, and other activists. Consider sponsoring a table. Details will be up on these pages in the coming weeks.

In these turbulent and divisive political times, it’s refreshing to be part of an organization whose only agenda is good government. Our members have diverse political opinions but we are united in our ambition to have the most accessible and transparent state, county, and local governments in the country right here in Washington State. We survive almost entirely on small donations and our members and sustaining partners are the backbone of our financial security.

Thank you all and get ready as we work for a new year full of openness and access to government in Washington State. And thank you in advance for your generosity in supporting WCOG.

Sincerely,

Juli

Click below to see the 2019 Winners of WCOG’s Madison-Andersen-Bunting Awards:

Judge William Downing
Former King County Superior Court Judge & Former
Chair of the Bench-Bar-Press Liaison Committee


For his long-term commitment to the cause of open government. Downing served as chair of the Bench-Bar-Press Liaison Committee for more than 16 years, mediating numerous disputes that balanced interests involving access to public records.

Elly Walker
former executive director, Washington Coalition for Open Government


Recognized for her care of the Coalition above and beyond its role as her client by receiving the James Andersen Award, given for advancing the efforts of WCOG. Anderson, a former chief justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, was a founding board member of the Coalition.

Eli Sanders
Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, The Stranger


For his investigation into online campaign ads in light of Washington state’s regulations and disclosure laws. One result of his reporting of dozens of stories in The Stranger was lawsuits against Facebook and Google by the state Attorney General, and a $425,000 settlement for the companies’ failure to follow Washington access laws – and their decision to stop selling political ads in the state because of its tough disclosure rules.

 

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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