To the editor:

Sunshine Week is a nationwide effort to foster dialogue on the importance of transparency in government, freedom of information, and open government at all levels. It occurs around the birthday of James Madison, the fourth president of the U.S. and author of the First Amendment to the Constitution, and is scheduled for the week of March 10-16 this year.

The Stillwater League of Women Voters has been celebrating Sunshine Week for several years by asking elected officials and those running for offices to sign a pledge supporting open government. By signing, they agree that they and their public bodies will comply with the letter and spirit of Oklahoma’s Open Meeting and Open Records laws.

During Sunshine Week, League members will be attending meetings of the Payne County Commission, Stillwater City Council and Stillwater Board of Education to celebrate this event and collect pledges from our elected officials. Pledges will also be collected from board members of the Meridian Technology Center and Stillwater Medical Center.

A healthy democracy requires a public that is knowledgeable about government processes and policies. Participation and commitment are measures of that health. There are many ways citizens can participate in creating a healthy democracy: voting, attending town meetings or public hearings, serving on local and state boards and commissions, running for office, participating in political parties, being active members of organizations like the League of Women Voters, or just by staying informed. More information can be found on the Sunshine Week website or at foioklahoma.org.

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