RELEASE: Seamus Kraft Receives 2016 James Madison Award from the American Library Association

March 11, 2016

Nicko Margolies (The OpenGov Foundation) – – (202) 642-4467
Nancy Gravatt (American Library Association) – – 202-403-8208

Press Release

Seamus Kraft Receives 2016 James Madison Award from the American Library Association

The honor for championing government transparency and the public’s right to know was presented at the National Freedom of Information Day Conference.

The James Madison Award logo

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 11, 2016)Seamus Kraft, co-founder and executive director of The OpenGov Foundation, was honored today with the James Madison Award from the American Library Association for his dedication and work advancing the public’s access to government. The award, established in 1986, was given in recent years to Sen. John Cornyn, Aaron Swartz and Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

“Thank you, President Feldman and the entire American Library Association for this incredible honor,” said Kraft in a video of his remarks. “While it pains me to not be with you all in real life, it is, perhaps, appropriate that I join you digitally, both to give thanks and to share with you our small, fiercely apolitical non-profit that’s seeking to rebuild law and lawmaking for our digital age. And while it falls to me to accept the James Madison Award, I am doing so on behalf of the entire OpenGov Foundation family.”

“In this time of sweeping technological change, a new day is dawning for democracy,” said Kraft. “Our community of fighters for the freedom of information is, at long last, beating back the entrenched and well-funded enemies of openness.” Watch the entirety of his acceptance speech to the left and read the speech here.

“Seamus is an individual who has and continues to fight hard to protect and promote the public’s right to know, a man who personifies the spirit of the James Madison Award,” Feldman said in presenting Kraft with the award. “In his leadership role at the OpenGov Foundation, Seamus has been an effective and inspired champion for public access to government information, bringing greater transparency to government at all levels, including structural changes that will have long-term impacts for increasing civic engagement in government.”

The nomination for this honor came from senior staff in the House Majority Leader’s office, the House Democratic Whip’s office and professors at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “Seamus has a commitment to public access to information that mirrors the spirit of the James Madison Award,” said Professors Tony Saich and Archon Fung from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation in their nomination letter. “Seamus also carries a unique combination of expertise, humor, and common sense that allows him to communicate as easily with young coders as he does with seasoned lawmakers.”

The award named for President James Madison was established in 1989 and is presented annually on the anniversary of his birth to honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know at the national level.

About The OpenGov Foundation
The OpenGov Foundation is a fiercely nonpartisan nonprofit helping people participate in the government decisions that affect their lives. We believe innovative technology and open data can help deliver democratic governments that listen to citizens, operate efficiently and solve our shared challenges the smart way. We believe democracy means everyone should have the chance to be a hands-on contributor.