The Fourth of July not only celebrates America's independence, it also marks 47 years since the landmark Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was signed into federal law. With our Congress holding a record low approval rating, and with only 26 percent of Americans surveyed (Pew Research) saying they can trust government in Washington, D.C., "almost always or most of the time," members of the League of Women Voters of Benton and Franklin Counties believe that the FOIA is more important now than ever.
FOIA established our right to access government records and to know what our government is doing -- its successes and failures. From food and transportation safety to the use and disposal of chemicals, FOIA has enabled the public to ensure the health of our democracy and our own well-being.
The FOIA and related laws are only as good as we demand that they be. For decades, members of the League of Women Voters have been involved at the federal, state and local levels -- observing government meetings, conducting document audits and empowering citizens.
The most important key to an open and trusted government is public involvement. On this FOIA anniversary, exercise your right to know by attending a government meeting, contacting an elected official or join us at www.lwv-bf.org.
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JUDY GOLBERG, Richland