The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, a nonprofit organization that promotes government transparency, has named five new members to its Board of Directors. They are:
Victor Ashe, former Knoxville mayor, state representative, state senator and U.S. Ambassador to Poland
Braden Boucek, litigation director and representative for The Beacon Center of Tennessee
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of ACLU-TN
John Williams, attorney with Tune, Entrekin & White, P.C.
Larry Wood, general manager of WNWS-FM, NewsTalk 101.5 FM in Jackson
TCOG is a non-partisan organization founded in 2003 whose mission rests on the belief that citizen access to government information, through public records and public meetings, is crucial in allowing informed participation in a democratic society, and is an essential component in government accountability.
“These board members reflect a diversity of background and experiences, but each has a rich history in Tennessee and share a common viewpoint that transparency in government in our state is essential,” said TCOG Board President Doug Pierce. “TCOG’s educational programs have been growing, and we hope to continue to improve understanding of the rights of citizens to know what their government is doing, and to promote a culture of openness in government at all levels.”
- Victor Ashe, now retired, was a state representative in the General Assembly from 1968-1975. He then was elected as state senator, serving until 1984. He was Knoxville’s longest serving Mayor, elected 4 times for 16 years spanning 1988 to 2003. Before retiring, Ashe was Ambassador to Poland from 2004-2009. He continues to reside in Knoxville and be actively involved in his community and the state. He is a member of the American Rivers Board, National Trust for Historic Preservation Board and Tennessee Clean Water Network Board.
- Braden Boucek, as litigation director for the Beacon Center of Tennessee based in Nashville, manages in-house legal matters and litigation for Beacon, whose goal is to promote freedom and opportunity in Tennessee. Prior to joining Beacon Center, Boucek was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Nashville and Memphis for more than nine years, handling cases involving organized crime, drugs, gang-related violence and firearms. A native of Nashville, he started his career with the Criminal Justice Division of the Attorney General’s Office, then was assistant district attorney in Franklin. He is a deacon at Grace Presbyterian Church.
- Hedy Weinberg is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee whose mission it to protect and promote the freedoms guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. Through her long-term tenure at the ACLU, she has broadened and deepened public discourse and policy making on a range of human rights issues, including freedom of speech, religious freedom, racial justice, fair treatment of immigrants, LGBT equality, and access to the ballot box. She is a long standing advocate of government accountability and equal treatment and protection for all individuals.
- John Williams, an attorney with Tune, Entrekin & White, P.C. in Nashville, represents SouthComm media publications, including the Nashville Scene. He also serves as the chair of the Communication Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association, and has previously served as chair of the Media Law Committee of the Nashville Bar Association. He writes frequent articles for the Nashville Bar Journal and the Tennessee Bar Journal and has twice won the Justice Joseph W. Henry award presented annually by the TBA for Best Article in the Tennessee Bar Journal in the previous year.
- Larry Alvin Wood has more than 50 years experience in broadcasting, first starting to work for his dad at WTRO in Dyersburg, TN, when he was 12. After graduating from East Tennessee State University, he worked as a news reporter in Tennessee and Kentucky before becoming general manager at WNWS-FM, News/Talk 101.5 FM in Jackson in 1995. He is a former board chairman of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters.
TCOG’s programs include workshops and training, development of educational resources, advocacy, a help line for citizens and journalists, and tracking of legislation and litigation that could impact rights of access to public records and government meetings. TCOG participates as a member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, an alliance of similar open government groups in other states.
For more information, contact TCOG Executive Director Deborah Fisher at email@example.com.