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First Amendment Foundation Announces New Board of Trustees Leadership

First Amendment Foundation Announces New Board of Trustees Leadership

TALLAHASSEE — The First Amendment Foundation (FAF) Board of Trustees has unanimously elected a new chair and vice-chair to help protect the public’s constitutional right to open government and free speech. Caitie Muñoz, a lead producer for WLRN Public Media’s midday public affairs program Sundial, was elected Chair of the Board, and Trimmel Gomes, president of Gomes Media Strategies, was elected Vice-Chair.

FAF also voted to add Patti Brigham and Graham Brink as members of the Board of Trustees. Patti forged a career in broadcasting as a reporter, writer, and producer. She received numerous awards from media organizations, including American Women in Radio and Television and the Associated Press. Patti served as President of the League of Women Voters of Florida from 2018-2021. She now serves as president of Prevent Gun Violence Florida, Inc, a nonprofit organization.

Graham Brink has enjoyed a long illustrious career in Florida journalism and now serves as editor of the Tampa Bay Times editorial pages.

With the pandemic shifting how the world communicates, these new leaders are taking charge at the most critical time to be at the forefront of these changes guiding our education, training, and information services.

“Caitie and Trimmel have respected reputations as innovators in journalism, business, and entrepreneurship. We have many challenges to confront – the old and the new—as we navigate to protect the rights of all Floridians enshrined in our First Amendment,” said Pamela Marsh, Executive Director of FAF. “We are examining everything that we do with a fresh set of eyes, in line with a collective mission by our entire board to overcome the challenges ahead and make progress in the areas of free speech, free press, and open government.”

“I am truly excited about this opportunity to help ensure the public’s constitutional rights do not get diluted during Florida’s changing times,” said Muñoz. Florida’s nationally revered public records law passed in 1909 is in constant erosion, with exemptions passed each year limiting the public’s access to agency records and meetings. “We simply cannot tackle today’s problems with yesterday’s tools and mindset, so we are diving in to see how best to keep our mission, blending the old with the new, and it requires tremendous public support,” added Gomes.

Muñoz and Gomes started their two-year terms at the end of the 2022 legislative session, in which FAF fought against bills to limit the public’s right to access information and meetings. FAF worked with lawmakers to narrow the scope of legislation, such as the exemption for crash reports and traffic tickets. In addition, we collaborated with lawmakers to amend exemptions for guardianship records and university emergency response plans, which were subject to review and repeal.

The First Amendment Foundation focuses on training government employees on compliance with the public records law and advocating broadly in support government transparency. Its mission to protect and advance the public’s constitutional right to open government is more critical than ever.

For more information on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Leadership, Membership, Mission, and to support our work, please visit www.floridafaf.org.