OKLAHOMA CITY, Nov. 29, 2017 — Citing a pervasive culture of secrecy and backroom deals among government leaders, gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson today announced an initiative to bring transparency back to the state capitol.
Edmondson today said that if he is elected, he will create an Office of Open Government within the governor’s office with the sole purpose of ensuring compliance with Oklahoma’s sunshine laws.
“Government belongs to the people,” Edmondson said. “The meetings we hold, the records we create — all of that belongs to the people. We should be working to guarantee that access. Instead, over the last seven years, we’ve seen an effort from the current administration to skirt the law and, in some cases, to outright stonewall the public. That has to stop.”
Edmondson has been a long-time advocate for Oklahoma’s Open Meetings and Open Records laws. As attorney general, he conducted training seminars for more than 5,000 Oklahomans in communities across the state, educating government officials about the requirements under the law. The free seminars, which were co-hosted by the Oklahoma Press Association and Freedom of Information, Inc., were attended by state and county officials, members of the press and citizens interested in open government.
“Good government dies in the dark,” Edmondson said. “Under the current administration, we have agencies with no real oversight, and no real opportunity for the general public to impact policy as it is being decided. Government leaders are employed by the taxpayers. We have a right to know what they’re doing.”