Nominate an open government hero!

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is now accepting nominations for the 2016 William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award.

The award, named for attorney and FOG co-founder the late William S. Dixon, is bestowed upon individuals or organizations in New Mexico who advance open government or free-speech rights in the areas of business, law, education, government, journalism and citizen advocacy.

Award recipients will be selected by a panel of FOG directors and will be honored at the annual “Your Right To Know” Dixon Lunch on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque. The luncheon keynote speaker this year will be Columbia University professor and former NPR reporter Ann Cooper.

Persons wishing to nominate an individual or organization for the 2016 Dixon Award should submit a nomination letter describing the person or organization’s accomplishments or initiatives to by June 17, 2016. Nominees should have made contributions to the advancement of transparency in government, especially in using public records and open meetings laws to shine a light on public business.

In 2016, FOG celebrates its 26th year protecting and advocating for the public’s right to know.

The 2015 recipients of the Dixon Award were Kent Walz, Albuquerque Journal editor, lifetime achievement; Peter St. Cyr, freelance reporter, journalism; Mark Leech, IT manager with the City of Albuquerque, government; and Chad Painter, Eastern New Mexico University professor, education.

Previous recipients include Albuquerque Mayor R.J. Berry, journalists Jeff Proctor, Colleen Heild, and Rob Dean; attorneys Jim Dines, Patrick Griebel, Jeremy Theoret, Pat Rogers, Matthew R. Hoyt, Dolph Barnhouse and Charles “Kip” Purcell; the League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County; Corrales International School newspaper advisors Bryant Furlow and Scott Blackwell; public information officer Charles Wollmann; State Sen. Sander Rue; State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones; State Rep. Joseph Cervantes; State Rep. Jeff Steinborn; State Sen. Dede Feldman; State Rep. Ted Hobbs; New Mexico Tech President Daniel Lopez; UNM Regent and Daniels Insurance President Jamie Koch; former PNM CEO Jeff Sterba; former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez; former First State Bank CEO Michael Stanford; Lea County State Bank President Sam Spencer; and Presbyterian Healthcare Services President Jim Hinton.