Andersen Award.

Andersen Award

Nominations now open for the 2020 Award!
Deadline for nominations: July 1, 2020

The Washington Coalition for Open Government annually presents the James Andersen Award.

This award is given to an individual or organization that has done something extraordinary to advance the efforts of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. Individual self-nominations will not be accepted, although individuals may nominate their organizations. 

It is named for the former Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, who served from 1992 until his retirement in 1995. He also served as a Justice from 1984 to 1992, and had a distinguished career as an attorney in private practice. Andersen was a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Washington Coalition for Open Government and the first recipient of its James Madison Award, in 2005.

The award is presented at the annual Madison Andersen Awards Breakfast in September.

Past Recipients

+2018 - Mike Fancher

Mike Fancher
former executive of The Seattle Times

Michele Earl-Hubbard, 2016 winner, presents the 2018 Andersen Award to Mike Fancher.

Recipient of the James Andersen Award for service in furthering the work of the coalition is Mike Fancher, former executive editor of The Seattle Times. A board member of WCOG since 2006, he retired from The Times in 2008 after 40 years in journalism, and served recently as interim chair of the George S. Turnbull/Agora Journalism Center in Portland, part of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

+2017 - Bill Crittenden

2017 James Andersen Award winner Bill Crittenden (left) with WCOG president Toby Nixon (right). Photo by Marcus R. Donner.

+2016 - Michele Earl-Hubbard

2016 James Andersen Award winner Michele Earl-Hubbard (center) with WCOG president Toby Nixon (left) and 2015 Andersen Award winner George Erb (right).

+2015 - George Erb

2015 James Andersen Award winner George Erb (right) with WCOG President Toby Nixon (left) and 2014 Andersen Award winner Kathy George (center).

+2014 - Katherine George

Kathy George presentation
2014 James Andersen Award winner Katherine George (center) with WCOG President Toby Nixon (right) and 2013 Andersen Award winner David Seago (left).

+2013 - David Seago

David Seago, photographed in the TNT office June 11, 2008

David Seago, photographed in the TNT office June 11, 2008

Dave Seago led the launch of the Scott John Essay Contest by creating and implementing the judging process. Dave coordinated all aspects of the effort, including contest rules, promotion within the education community, submissions, selection of judges, judging process, selection of the winners, notification to the winners and publication of the essays.

Dave also has written numerous news releases and several op-eds to support the WCOG forums. At the Aberdeen workshop, Dave led the discussion of the Open Public Meetings Act and acted as emcee. At the June workshop in Anacortes, Dave shared the leadership with Mike Kahrs.

All-in-all, Dave demonstrated how a single board member can make an extraordinary difference in advancing the Coalition.

+2012 - Ed Clark


Ed Clark is the executive professional of Clark, Raymond & Company, a firm he co-founded in 1991. He joined the WCOG board in 2011 and recognized immediately that the coalition lacked sufficient funding to fulfill its mission of promoting government openness.His leadership is invigorating WCOG’s efforts to achieve financial stability and to increase its impact on behalf of the public. Clark has made significant personal financial contributions by sponsoring the 2012 Sunshine Week Open Government Conference and a public forum in Redmond. He also has given of his time by serving on panels for forums in Colville and Redmond and at the 2011 Open Government Conference on Mercer Island, and moderating a program at the 2012 conference.

In his role as co-chair of the Revenue Committee, Clark oversees the search for grant funding. He also engineered WCOG’s participation in the Seattle Foundation’s 2012 GiveBig Campaign.

Clark previously received a Key Award from the Coalition in recognition of his success in unlocking government secrets related to the improper regulation of the accounting profession in the State of Washington.

WCOG President Toby Nixon commented, “Ed Clark exemplifies what it means to be an activist committed to a cause. He is ‘all in’. It’s been said that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, and Ed demonstrates the truth of that in his work for transparent and accountable government.”

+2011 - Patience Rogge


Patience Rogge holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Government and a Master of Library Science from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked in academic, school and public libraries in Delaware, California, and Saudi Arabia. She has served on the Jefferson County Rural Library District Board of Trustees, the boards of the Washington Library Association, the Pacific Northwest Library Association, and Friends of the Washington State Library. She has chaired the Washington Friends, Foundations and Trustees Association and the Grassroots! interest group of the Washington Library Association. In 2001, she received the Trustee Award from the Washington Library Association, in 2005, she received the Association’s Honorary Lifetime Award and was named to the American Library Association’s National Advocacy Honor Roll. In addition to her library-related activities, she has been active in environmental, political and educational efforts in California and Washington. She currently directs the Fort Worden Oral History Program at Fort Worden State Park Conference Center in Port Townsend and is vice president of the Friends of Fort Worden.

+2010 - Duane Swinton

ja_duaneswinton-bwDuane M. Swinton is a partner at Witherspoon, Kelley, Davenport & Toole, P.S. law firm in Spokane, where he has practiced for 29 years. Duane specializes in Media law and has argued a dozen media cases before both the Washington and Idaho Supreme Courts on such issues as access to public records and court documents, defamation and prior restraint. He is an adjunct instructor at Gonzaga Law School in media law. A 1977 graduate of the University of Iowa law school, Duane also has a B.A. degree from Iowa in journalism and has several years experience as a newspaper reporter.

+2009 - Brian Sonntag


Since his first election as State Auditor in 1992, Brian Sonntag has been a passionate, leading advocate for citizens of the State of Washington. Now in his fifth term as Auditor, Brian remains committed to ensuring state and local governments are accountable, accessible, and responsive to citizens.Brian has a distinguished career in public service. He was elected Pierce County Clerk when he was 26 years old and served eight years in that office. Brian was also elected twice to the office of Pierce County Auditor (an office his father also held for 22 years), before being elected State Auditor.Brian serves as a board member of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. His advocacy for open government earned him the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s Freedom’s Light Award in 1999. And his efforts to improve local government operations earned him the Warren G. Magnuson Award from the Seattle Municipal League in 1999.Brian is also a member of the State Productivity Board and co-chairs Public Service Recognition Week, an annual event showcasing the achievements of state employees.

Professionally, Brian holds designation as a Certified Government Financial Manager from the National Association of Government Accountants. He also serves as a trustee on the Association of Government Accountants’ Academy of Government Accountability.

+2008 - Kris Passey

krisKris Passey is a founding member of the WCOG organization and a strong voice for government openness and accountability for decades in Washington state. A Marysville resident, Kris retired last year from publishing the Marysville Globe and Arlington Times. During his career as a journalist and publisher, Kris was an outstanding advocate for open government and the coalition.   He advanced the work of WCOG by providing the printing of the coalition’s brochures and producing a series of eye-catching posters, as well as providing public service announcements and producing a video explaining the mission of WCOG. Kris Passey’s efforts in outreach have also extended beyond the borders of the United States. In October 2005, Kris traveled to Santiago, Chile to participate in Pro Acceso under a U.S. Department of State U.S. Speaker and Specialist grant. There he met with journalists from Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Britain and discussed access to public information and the work of WCOG.

+2007 - Frank W. Garred

garredFrank W. Garred is a retired newspaper publisher, owning and operating community newspapers on the Olympic Peninsula since 1967. He has served as president of the Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Newspaper Association (NNA), National Newspaper Association Foundation, and the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors. He served seven years as NNA’s representative to the national Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. A 1958 graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in Journalism, he served in the army (infantry) with duty in Korea prior to joining the news staff of the Aberdeen Daily World in 1960. He was a newspaper reporter and editor from 1960 until 1967 when he purchased the newspaper at Port Townsend. He served as executive director of the Washington Coalition for Open Government from its creation in 2002 until June 2004, and as Vice President in 2006. He has taught Journalism courses at Western Washington University and Peninsula College (Port Angeles).