Lawmakers and journalists to be recognized by CCFOI

The Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information will recognize lawmakers and journalists who have been champions of open government at its annual awards ceremony to be held on June 12. 

The event will run from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at The Hartford Club, located at 46 Prospect St. in Hartford. 

CCFOI’s mission is to advocate for and promote government transparency, public access, and strong Freedom of Information laws that help guarantee the rights and liberties of journalists and other persons under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and state constitution.

The awards honor the work of those who have worked toward those same goals. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Janet Manko, publisher emerita and former editor-in-chief of the Lakeville Journal. 

Manko has been a long-time supporter of FOIA, and has often used it to hold local officials accountable.

A past-president for the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government, Manko has also served on the board of the New York Press Association and is a member of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors. As publisher, she also edited the opinion pages for The Lakeville Journal and wrote the editorials

Under Manko’s leadership, The Lakeville Journal has also helped educate the public on its readership on how to use open records and open meetings laws. Here’s one example: Navigating FOIA compliance locally | The Lakeville Journal

The Stephen A. Collins Award will be given to Eugene Driscoll, editor of Valley Independent Sentinel, a nonprofit online news site that covers Ansonia, Derby and Seymour.

As editor of the Valley Independent Sentinel since 2009, Driscoll has remained steadfast in holding local public officials and agencies accountable to the public, in particular as it relates to their compliance with the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

The Valley Independent Sentinel highlights its regular reporting on issues of government transparency in a prominent category titled “Your Right to Know.” Driscoll has a knack for explaining to the public why the Freedom of Information Act in Connecticut matters to them, often inserting FOI explainers into routine coverage, and regularly explaining the law in the news outlet’s podcast episodes. 

Four state lawmakers will each be honored with a Champion of Open Government Award for their efforts to defend and preserve the Freedom of Information Act in Connecticut.

The recipients are:

  • State Rep. Josh Elliott, D-Hamden, 88th District, Deputy Speaker and member of the Judiciary Committee.
  • State Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco, R-Wolcott, 80th District, ranking member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee.
  • State Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, 16th District, ranking member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee.
  • State Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, 10th District, Chief Deputy Majority Leader and Chair of the Judiciary Committee.

Tickets are $25 at the door. Please email Jacky Smith to register for the event. Payment can be made in advance, or in cash at the door.

The event will include hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, with one complimentary drink.