Candidates for governor respond to open government survey

November 3, 2012

How transparent would Indiana government be under Rupert Boneham, John Gregg or Mike Pence?

The Indiana Coalition for Open Government recently conducted its second survey of gubernatorial candidates, asking what they would do to improve public access and hold officials accountable.

Gregg Gregg

Boneham, the Libertarian, didn’t respond at all, and Gregg didn’t answer any of the nine specific questions. Gregg did send back a general statement: “I consider the public my boss, and I believe they will see an improvement in transparency under my administration.”

Republican Mike Pence said his administration would create a central posting site for notices of public meetings in state government. He would also require copies of documents that are discussed or introduced at a public meeting to be available to the public in attendance and to be posted online in advance.

Pence is taking a wait-and-see approach to a new law that imposes fines on officials who violate open records and meeting requirements. Asked whether he would strengthen the role of the public access counselor, he said he would “preserve” the office and “encourage all agencies to comply with both the letter and spirit of the Access to Public Records Act.”

Mike Pence Pence

ICOG President Gerry Lanosga, an assistant professor in the Indiana University School of Journalism, said he was a little disappointed with the lack of specifics in the major-party candidates’ responses.

The coalition, which represents citizens’ and media interests, conducted its first and only previous survey of gubernatorial candidates in 2004, when Gov. Mitch Daniels was running against then-Gov. Joe Kernan.

At the time, Daniels promised to create the most open state government in Indiana history.

“I think they made some good strides,” especially through the state’s website, Lanosga said.

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