The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (FOG) is now accepting nominations for the 2021 William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award – given to those who believe in government transparency at the state or local level – and who have made significant contributions to casting sunshine (transparency) on government operations in New Mexico.

    Award recipients will be selected by a panel of FOG Directors. Dixon Award winners will be announced in September with a virtual Dixon Award event set for Oct.7, 2021, in a hybrid ceremony.

    “The Dixon awards bring attention to and celebrate those individuals who advance the cause of open government in New Mexico,” Kathi Bearden, FOG Dixon Award committee chair, said. “It’s important, especially as we come out of what can only be classified as unusual times, to recognize and honor the dedicated New Mexicans who represent open government in action. We know these individuals may sacrifice hours of their personal time performing crucial legal, educational and investigative work to ensure an open and transparent democracy. Their hard work enables New Mexicans to enjoy open and transparent government throughout our state.”

    She said past award recipients range from neighbors standing up for open government in their communities to elected officials who have carried the flag for open meetings and open government.

    “We are asking all those who value open government to consider submitting a nomination for the Dixon Award. If you know someone you think has made a difference in local or state government procedures or actions, please let us know,” Bearden said.

    The award honors the late William S. Dixon, a First Amendment advocate and FOG co-founder.

    “Bill was a First Amendment lawyer, a leading defender of free speech and public-access rights and one of FOG’s founders,” Bearden said. “Each year we honor his keen intellect, ringing laughter, lucid writing, integrity and idealism through this award.”

    The nomination process is easy. Anyone who wishes to nominate an individual or organization is urged to visit the FOG website at nmfog.org/events for all of the requirements. The deadline for nominations is July 31.

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