This is a rare situation in today’s political world: a Republican and a Democrat coming together to agree on a critical issue.
But we absolutely agree that our state government must be transparent and accountable to the people of Kansas. It is fundamental to our democracy.
Simply said, it’s your government and you should know what’s going on.
Anything done “of the people, by the people” and “for the people” should be debated, informed and decided in ways that are completely transparent and open to you as a Kansan.
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No matter where you live in this great state, you should know what issues are being debated by your representatives and when – and you should be able to participate. Furthermore, any Kansan should be able to request public reports and documents and receive them in a timely and affordable manner.
Pledges can be difficult for many reasons, but this one is different because it shows we as elected leaders are committed to the very foundation of democracy. It addresses three broadly defined principles that all can support:
▪ Public and transparent processes.
▪ Timely and reasonable access to public information.
▪ Increased public participation.
The issues we are facing as a state are complex, and though we may disagree on the solutions, pledging to support an open and transparent government is an important first step forward.
How can we do the people’s business if we don’t pledge to do so with open doors in the light of day? We owe it to our constituents and to Kansans to be open and accountable.
Therefore we applaud our many colleagues who have already signed the pledge. And we call on all our fellow legislators to join us, sign the pledge and work on ways to open our government to the people of Kansas.
John Rubin is a Republican state representative from Shawnee. John Wilson is a Democratic state representative from Lawrence.