Legislators named Sunshine Award recipients

The Michigan Press Association has announced the 2018 Peter Pettalia Memorial Sunshine Award Winners. Rep. Pettalia was a vocal advocate for newspapers and open government and one of the first recipients of the award and MPA feels the three recipients of this year's awards honor those traditions.

The following legislators have been chosen as this year's recipients:

- Senator Margaret O'Brien (R-Kalamazoo), a first term senator and former State Representative has been a strong supporter of open government and transparency as well as journalism during her career in Lansing.

- Representative Jim Lower (R-Cedar Springs), who is serving his first term has already proven to be a proponent of open records and government accountability as well as supportive of his local newspapers.

- Representative Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw) a second term legislator has been a supporter of open government including the package of bills to make the legislature and the Governor subject to FOIA and appreciates the importance of the First Amendment.

These individuals continuously demonstrate their belief that government transparency is important to a strong democracy. The actions of these legislators directly support MPA's mission of defending free speech, promoting a strong press and fostering an informed citizenry, according to Brad Thompson, president of the MPA.

"As journalism has come under attack recently, it is even more important to recognize these legislative leaders that understand that a strong, independent press is critical to our democracy," said Thompson, president and CEO of The Detroit Legal News Publishing Co.

"This is always a great time of year when we in the press get to recognize legislators that have been open, forward-thinking and representative of their constituents. Open government is always good government, and these leaders are examples of doing the people's business in the open and knowing the value of keeping the public informed."

The 2018 Peter Pettalia Sunshine Awards will be presented to these legislators at the MPA Annual Convention on May 10 in Lansing.

Published: Wed, Mar 14, 2018