Last edited: October 10, 2008
Equal to all the duties that our government performs is a responsibility to communicate the process of those duties clearly.
The openness, or transparency, of government is a vital function of democracy. Democracy only works if we have a well-informed public and to be well-informed we need transparency in government.
Transparency ensures the efficient spending of our tax dollars and the use of our resources by making all decisions in the open and on the record. Transparency means to me that we can review policymakers’ decisions, examine documents, inspect government spending and learn more about how our government functions. There are no secret meetings, secret decisions, or secret spending with transparency.
Kansas recently flunked a “sunshine test” by the Better Government Association, a non-partisan watchdog group that digs into problems and solutions about transparency and accountability in government. The study examined citizens’ access to public information. This is unacceptable.
I endorse strengthening our Kansas Open Records Act and our Kansas Open Meetings Act to include provisions for actively communicating what government does. I endorse setting guidelines for how information is to be made available, for how long, and at a non-prohibitive cost.
But the answer isn’t to hire more bureaucrats to supervise what the current bureaucrats are doing. There’s a simpler, cheaper and more permanent solution: Allow Kansans to review how government spends our money. We would do this by posting all of these records online in an easily browsable and searchable format.
I strongly endorse using 21st Century technology to make sure that these records are kept digitally rather than in a paper copy format, saving the taxpayers of our state millions of dollars in paperwork and filing costs. This solution provides a simple, cheap, and permanent solution that lends itself to any easily accessible and searchable database of public records. This solution keeps bureaucratic costs down and allows Kansans the access that we must have.
Join me in my campaign to increase the transparency of Kansas government.