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Our Opinion: Advocating for essential openness in government

Our Opinion: Advocating for essential openness in government

March 14th, 2018 by News Tribune in Opinion

You can argue for or against President Trump's policies and gun control on the national level, and tax cuts, tort reform, and the best fixes for opioid problems on the state level. Locally, reasonable people can disagree on how to handle riverfront development, a possible conference center or how the school district fairly should divide the city when determining who will attend the new high school.

But one thing we should all be able to agree on is openness in government — the right for us to know what our government is doing, why they're doing it, and how they're spending our money.

This is Sunshine Week, which educates the public each year about the importance of open government and the dangers of unneeded secrecy. The event started in 2005 and is sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee.

Whether you favor a small government or a big government, our government works on our behalf and with our money.

Keeping government open and accountable is a never-ending task, but a needed task. It's constantly part of our job here at the News Tribune. When public documents shed light on the workings (or problems) within government, we request them. When public bodies close meetings — which Missouri's law allows under specific circumstances — we ask why and sometimes challenge the decision. When our elected officials make decisions that affect our lives, we ask them what guided their decisions.

Here in Missouri, we, along with many media outlets across the state, have voiced serious concerns we have regarding Gov. Eric Greitens' penchant for operating in secrecy.

We'll continue to push for openness in the Greitens administration and in government in general. We believe it's essential. As President Lincoln famously said: "Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth."