FOI Announces Advisory Board Members
We’re excited to announce our newly-formed Advisory Board. Each Advisory Board member was selected based on their expertise, knowledge, collaboration or courage in matters involving freedom of information and First Amendment issues in this state and nation. They, together with our board members and volunteers, continue to uphold the open record, open meeting and open government principles that we are passionate about and, most importantly, should strive for in Oklahoma.
Kay Bickham served as first Executive Director for Freedom of Information Oklahoma, from 1998 to 2018. During this time she was involved in creating the first 1st Amendment Congress, a program that has educated hundreds of high school students about their rights under the First Amendment. She is also responsible for creating other events for FOI Oklahoma such as the Sunshine Conferences, Education for Freedom workshops for teachers, virtual 1st Amendment Centers at state libraries, and the creation of the Justice Marion Opala First Amendment Award, which is given annually in his honor.
Kay has twice served on the Edmond City Council and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COPTA). She worked for many years in association management managing a variety of non-profit associations—Executive Director for State Chapters of 3 national medical associations – American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians and Oklahoma Association of Clinical Pathologists and the Oklahoma City International Visitors Council (an affiliate of Global Ties US).
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Kay moved to Oklahoma in the early 1960s with her late husband, David, who was involved in the real estate business. She has two adult sons and six grandchildren. Kay loves to travel and meet people, both domestically and internationally, and enjoys watching and playing several sports. She is an avid duplicate bridge player and travels around the country to play in tournaments.
Ziva Branstetter joined the staff of The Washington Post in November as corporate accountability editor, leading a new investigative team. She is a 1987 graduate of Oklahoma State University and spent more than two decades as a reporter and editor in Oklahoma. She worked at the Tulsa World for 22 years, serving in positions including city editor and enterprise editor. In 2015, Branstetter and Cary Aspinwall were named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting. They founded the Frontier, an investigative news website based in Tulsa, that year. Before joining the staff of The Post, Branstetter spent 18 months working as an editor at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting in California. She is also a former three-term board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc.
Drew Edmondson was born in Washington, D.C., which is the fitting birth place for a lawyer who has dedicated his professional career to public service. He graduated from Muskogee High School, attended Northeastern State College (now University), and following graduation enlisted in the United States Navy where he reached the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class (E-5), serving in Vietnam. In 1974, Drew ran for the State Legislature and served as the representative for District 13 for the next two years. Drew graduated from the University of Tulsa, College of Law in 1978. Thereafter, Drew continued in public service, becoming the Chief Prosecutor for Muskogee County in 1982 and in that same year was elected as the District Attorney for Muskogee County. He was re-elected in 1986 and 1990. In 1994, Drew made his first statewide race for Attorney General, taking office in 1995. He was re-elected in 1998, 2002, and 2006. Since 2011, Drew has been in the private practice of law.
As District Attorney, Drew was selected as the outstanding D.A. for the state of Oklahoma and as the President of the District Attorney’s Association. He was also named the outstanding death penalty prosecutor in the 9th and 10th federal court circuits. As Attorney General, Drew Chaired the Southern Region of the A.G.’s Association, the Consumer Protection Committee, the Tobacco Enforcement Committee, and was the recipient of the prestigious Kelly-Wyman Award as the outstanding attorney general in the country.
Drew’s passions are his family and public service. Drew and Linda will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in June of 2017. Drew and Linda are the parents of two adult children and have three grandchildren. Drew serves on a number of non-profit boards, is a member of Rotary, Club 29, and is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Academy.
Sue Hale is a journalism consultant for the Oklahoma City based Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. She has been with the foundation since her retirement as executive editor of The Oklahoman in 2008.
Hale, a Kansas native, started her career at The Winfield Daily Courier in 1966 in Winfield, Kansas. She went to work at the Topeka Capitol Journal in 1969. In 1975, she was hired by the Oklahoma City Times, a family owned afternoon paper that also owned the morning paper, The Daily Oklahoman. From 1981 to 1984, Hale was the news editor at a small newspaper near Oklahoma City before she was hired at The Oklahoman as it’s first female news editor. She became a First Amendment advocate when she heard the late Jean Otto, editorial editor at The Rocky Mountain News, speak at a Society of Professional Journalists conference. Otto had a passion for the First Amendment and Freedom of Information that would inspire Hale to follow in her footsteps.
In 1989, Hale, recruited a small group of like-minded Oklahomans and they spent several months drafting bylaws and creating a board for a freedom of Information organization. They named the group Freedom of Information Oklahoma. At the same time, she was invited to participate in a national steering committee to launch NFOIC. She spent 17 years on the NFOIC board and is still a member of FOI Oklahoma.
David McCullough, an attorney with Doerner Saunders Daniel & Anderson, LLP, is a founding member of FOI Oklahoma. Prior to beginning his law career, McCullough, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism, worked as a reporter for the Duncan Banner and Pauls Valley Daily Democrat and as an editor for the Guthrie Daily Leader. While in law school at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, McCullough spent one semester as an intern for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C. For the past 35 years McCullough has focused a part of his law practice in First Amendment law. Most recently, McCullough represented the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters in an open records action against the City of Norman to obtain the videotape of the altercation involving former University of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. In 1996, McCullough, along with law partner Mike Minnis, was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists with its First Amendment Award for representation of FOI Oklahoma and other media organizations for access to court records in the Oklahoma City bombing trial. In 2017, FOI Oklahoma presented McCullough with its Marian Opala First Amendment Award.
Judy Gibbs Robinson is deputy communications director for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a strong supporter of government transparency and open records. Previously, Robinson taught journalism and advised the student newspaper at the University of Oklahoma, covered minority affairs at The Oklahoman and worked in various locations for The Associated Press.
Joey Senat, Ph.D., teaches mass communication law and multimedia journalism courses in the OSU School of Media & Strategic Communications. He is the author of Mass Communication Law in Oklahoma and Our Right to Know in Oklahoma. Quoted often by the news media on FOI issues, Senat also lectures frequently on the state’s open government laws at educational seminars and professional conferences. He writes blog postings for Freedom of Information Oklahoma and served 15 years on its board of directors, including a term as president. He also serves on the FOI Committee of the national Society of Professional Journalists. For his work to advance government transparency, Senat received the 2017 Ben Blackstock Award, 2007 Marian Opala First Amendment Award and the 2005 Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment. He has been named Outstanding Professor in OSU’s College of Arts and Sciences and received the Mortar Board Honor Society’s Golden Torch Award for the college. Prior to becoming a college professor, Senat was a reporter for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., and the Tulsa (Okla.) World.
Yvette Walker has spent most of her career in daily journalism and serves a second term as At-Large Director on the Society of Professional Journalists national board. She is Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Administration in Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma. She moved to education for one reason only: to prepare the next generation of journalists in these tumultuous times. She was Night News Director at the Oklahoman and NewsOK.com, as well as Features Editor and Director of Custom Publications. She also was Ethics Chair at the University of Central Oklahoma. Before coming to Oklahoma, she was a senior newsroom manager at the Kansas City Star and Kansascity.com, and she has worked in newsrooms in Indiana, Texas and Michigan. She also writes a blog, Thoughts and Deeds, on Medium.com. Yvette is married to Tim, and they are very active in their church. They have three fur babies: Lemon, a black Labrador retriever; Gato, a Maine Coon cat; and Jade, a grey tabby cat with (of course) green eyes.