Since falling head over stilettos with Twitter, it’s a known fact I strongly advocate open government and increasing government transparency (especially via social media).
But tweets, Facebook posts, and Youtube videos alone obviously aren’t enough. Government transparency begins with the most simple of principles: always tell the truth. Sometimes the truth isn’t always the prettiest thing in the room, but it takes someone with integrity and a strong moral compass to do the right thing.
Over the last two years, I’ve observed several politicians and candidates across this state and across this nation in regard to their stand on open government. Some are pretty disappointing… but with West Virginia’s 2011 special gubernatorial election, one candidate stands out from the pack with a strong record on increasing government transparency: Jeff Kessler.
“We’re going to tell the people the truth,” he constantly says, referring to anything from why he’s running for governor to issues with legislation to any questions that arise from the press.
Not only is this principle ingrained in his character, he has an exceptional record for open government. Kessler sponsored and passed legislation that put West Virginia on the map as the first state in the U.S. to regulate 527 political groups requiring them to disclose sources of political funding.
Furthermore, this past legislative session, the West Virginia State Senate was able to pass ethics reform legislation requiring disclosure by paid public officials and prohibiting public office holders from lobbying for twelve months after they leave office.
Now I’ve heard many a tall tale from politicians in my sky-high stiletto days, but Jeff Kessler is grounded in honesty, integrity, and transparency.