Do you know someone who has been a champion for open government, freedom of the press or the First Amendment?
Nominate him or her for the Colorado Press Association's Friend of the First award.
The Friend of the First award recognizes a person in your community, or in the State of Colorado, who is a passionate advocate of First Amendment rights, freedom of the press, and open government.
The deadline for nominations is Feb. 12.
To nominate someone, submit a letter of nomination along with any supporting materials to:
Jerry Raehal, CEO
Colorado Press Association
1120 Lincoln St.; Suite 912
Denver, CO 80203
or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The recipient of the award will be announced during the 2016 Colorado Press Association Annual Convention on May 13-14 at the Denver West Sheraton.
If you have questions, contact Raehal at (720) 274-7171.
Previous winners include:
.Arvada resident Russell Weisfield was the 2014 "Friend of the First." As a citizen, Weisfield filed a lawsuit against the city of Arvada over an open meetings question, which led to the Legislature to pass HB14-1390 without a single nay vote. The law ensures that anyone has standing to legally challenge violations of Colorado's Sunshine Law.
.Former Colorado Press Association Executive Director Ed Otte received the award in 2010 for his many decades of commitment to the First Amendment on behalf of Colorado newspapers.
.State Sen. Andy McElhany and Rep. Anne McGihon shared the 2008 award for their sponsorship of a bill in the 2007 legislative session that reduced the cost of copies of public records.
.State Sen. Shawn Mitchell was the 2007 recipient because of his sponsorship of bills in 2001 and 2006 that required the electronic recording of government executive sessions. His efforts during the two legislative sessions helped to ensure passage of both bills.
Other recipients include former Mesa State College student newspaper editor Megan Fromm, former CU Regent Jim Martin, former Boulder Daily Camera Publisher Colleen Conant, former Denver Associated Press Bureau Chief Joe McGowan, First Amendment attorney Tom Kelley, and Lori Shafer and Jaclyn Gutierrez, editors of the Overland Scout newspaper.
Awareness of First Amendment issues isn't limited to efforts by the press; it is strengthened by the actions of people in local communities, in public or private organizations, in local or state government.