Attorney General Greg AbbottRemarks to the Freedom of Information Foundation of TexasAustin, TexasAugust 13, 2010
Note: Attorney General Abbott occasionally departs from his prepared remarks.
Introduction by Katherine “Missy” Cary, chief of the General Counsel Division, Office of the Attorney General
)Thanks, Missy, for those kind words. I appreciate your many years of service to the State of Texas and the Office of the Attorney General—especially your leadership on opengovernment issues. As you all may know, Missy is the chief of our General Counsel Division.Before that, she served as the chief of our Open Records Division. And prior to that role, shewas our Public Information Coordinator. Back in 2003, the Freedom of InformationFoundation recognized Missy for all of her tireless work and vast expertise in opengovernment issues, when you gave her the James Madison Award for that year.When it comes to open government issues, we have a wealth of talent at the AttorneyGeneral’s office. You have already heard from two of the top open government experts at ouroffice—and in the whole state of Texas—in Mandy Crawford and Hadassah Schloss. Thesetwo work tirelessly to ensure that the door to government in Texas stays open.Congratulations to Joe Larsen, the 2010 James Madison Award recipient, and to the TexasGavel Awards recipients. As a past recipient of the James Madison Award myself, I can tellyou that it is an unparalleled honor.A lot has changed since we last met for this annual conference. Since then, my daughterbecame a teenager. Having a teenage daughter has given me two things: grayer hair and athinner wallet.Another thing that has changed since we last met is the escalation of the public discussion anddebate about the states’ authority versus federal power. About individual determination versusgovernmental control. About Texas versus Washington. And about the federalist visionarticulated by Madison versus a federal government with limitless power.Just this past Sunday, the
featured a front page story titled,“Challenges Keep State and U.S. at Odds: Anti-Washington Theme Pervades AttorneyGeneral’s Maneuvers.” What’s going on? What’s behind this?The truth is, there is a common thread between our challenges of Washington overreach, onthe one hand, and our shared commitment to free press and open government on the otherhand. That common thread weaves timeless principles that undergird all our legal challengesagainst an overreaching government—whether it be an overreaching federal government,dictating unprecedented mandates on its people; or oppressive actions by local governmentsthat try to deny public access to information about what their government is doing.