Let the sunshine in!

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Now that the municipal elections are over, we hope not only that all the candidates are taking down their campaign signs, but are also patting themselves on the back for becoming part of the process in an effort to make their communities a better place to live.
As we move on from these campaigns, it’s only now that the hard work begins. Those who have been elected to office have a duty and an obligation to represent their constituents and their municipalities with the utmost integrity, honesty and transparency.
Next week is Sunshine Week here in New Mexico and nationwide. Take a moment to celebrate and think what it really means. During Sunshine Week, and every day of the year for that matter, we all should focus on the importance of open government.
We have many good examples of open government in Valencia County, but we’ve also had our fair share of officials who would rather not let the public know about the public’s business. New Mexico has strong public record and open meetings laws, and I encourage all of the newly elected officials to learn them, understand them and apply them to your new positions.
It’s puzzling and sometimes shocking when public officials choose not to comply with open records and meetings laws. These decisions might stem from a lack of education or training about sunshine laws. Keeping public records secret is never the right thing to do — in fact, it’s illegal.
Sunshine laws are designed and enacted to protect the public’s right to know. We all benefit from an open government — including public officials.
So let’s all celebrate your right to know by bringing in the sunshine!