State Open Government Hall of Fame

“Heroes of the 50 States”


Next Nomination deadline: July 1, 2020


Click here for the nomination form. Please note that the form cannot be saved.



2019 Hall of Fame



2019   Brian Hunhoff  — South Dakota
            Richard P. McKee*  —  California
            Hyde Post  —  Georgia
            Laura Lee Prather  —  Texas
2018   Terry Mutchler  —  Pennsylvania
2017   Michael Giudicessi  —  Iowa
2016   Sam D. Kennedy*  —  Tennessee
2015   Pete Weitzel — Florida
2014   John Paff —  New Jersey
2013   Brian Sonntag —  Washington
2012   Toby Nixon  —  Washington
2011   John R. Finnegan Sr.*  —  Minnesota
2009   Mitchell W. Pearlman  —  Connecticut
2008   Bill F. Chamberlin  —  Florida
2007   Frosty Landon  —  Virginia
2006   Byron M. Baer*  —  New Jersey
2005   John Kuglin  —  Montana 
2004   Herb Strentz  —  Iowa
2003   Michael Donoghue  —  Vermont
            Sue Hale  —  Oklahoma
            Robert Johnson*  —  New Mexico

There are heroes among us. They are heroes who may or may not be well known within their respective states and communities, but whose labors have gone largely unrecognized elsewhere. They are heroes whose efforts have kept state and local government records and meetings open and accessible to their fellow citizens.


Heroes of the 50 States: The State Open Government Hall of Fame recognizes long-term contributions of individuals to open government in their respective states. Specifically, induction into the Hall recognizes the “long and steady effort to preserve and protect the free flow of information about state and local government that is vital to the public in a democracy.”

Formal induction occurs at the annual Freedom of Information Summit.


The State Open Government Hall of Fame is open to anyone who has made a substantial, sustained and lasting contribution to open government or freedom of information within one particular state. Even if the nominee has been active in national efforts or national organizations, the judges will only consider accomplishments at the state level.

Nominees may come from government, the media, the non-profit sector, the legal profession, or any other area of endeavor that involves citizen access to government records, meetings and procedures.

Nominees may be living or deceased; active or retired.


Due to COVID-19 and the annual FOI Summit being conducted virtually, we will not be accepting nominations for 2020 inductees. We will resume the nomination and selection process for 2021. Stay tuned.

All nominations should include the following:

  • Cover letter identifying the nominee and the person or group making the nomination.
  • Adequate support material to demonstrate the worthiness of the nominee.

Use the online submission form to nominate your candidate.

Questions? Please contact Kelsey Ryan at 



All nominations are evaluated by a Screening/Selector Committee. To ensure the integrity of the process, Screeners/Selectors only become known to each other in the latter stages of judging in any given year.