Kris Passey Honored with 2017 Madison Award.

Kris Passey Honored with 2017 Madison Award

By Peggy Watt

Kris Passey, longtime Northwest journalist and a founder of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, is being honored with the 2017 James Madison award for his sustained support for access and transparency.

Passey was notified of the award this fall, shortly before he passed away on Nov. 27, 2016 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

Kris Passey

The Madison Award goes to an individual or organization who has made a long-term commitment to the cause of open government, shown through exemplary words or deeds.

As WCOG’s first president, “Kris led and guided us in our early years through formation and identification of our mission,” said Michele Earl-Hubbard, who nominated Passey for the award. “Kris has always been worthy of this award, and I know most of us thought we would have many more years to honor him with it.”

WCOG had previously recognized his contributions with the James Andersen Award in 2008. That award recognizes an individual or organization’s extraordinary work advancing the efforts of the Coalition.

Passey was active in WCOG since its founding. In 2008, he sold the Marysville Globe and Arlington Times, which he had edited since the 1990s, and went on to obtain a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri. In retirement, he taught journalism in 2013 and 2014 at Western Washington University. He and his wife, Catherine, had moved to the Washington, D.C. area to be close to family.

“Kris was profoundly moved to be recognized by people he held in such high esteem,” Catherine Passey wrote to friends. Kris Passey was a two-time president of WCOG and also a longtime member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, which is honoring him by naming one of its Olympia News Bureau internships after him.

“It was his hope, and his family’s wish, that anyone who wishes to do something to honor his memory and to encourage the principles Kris held so dear will consider contributing to either of these two organizations,” Catherine Passey added.

Kris Passey will also be recognized at the Madison/Anderson Awards event in September 2017. WCOG is also assembling a collection of letters to his family, which can be submitted online.

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