First recipients worthy of newly named Peter Pettalia Memorial Sunshine Award

Former State Rep. Peter Pettalia represented Northeast Michigan well.

And, while he was a friend to many organizations and interests across the region, he was a particular advocate for open meetings, Freedom of Information, public notice transparency and First Amendment issues. As a former Presque Isle Township supervisor, he was keenly aware how important a strong community newspaper is, and the role it plays in keeping citizens informed on matters of interest to them.

We always enjoyed a strong working relationship with him, and introduced him to other newspaper editors and publishers around the state through the Michigan Press Association. He was an advocate of the public’s right to know, and always was a supporter — even if it meant taking a stand against the positions of other GOP lawmakers.

Pettalia was a friend of journalism, and a free press in Michigan.

Thus, we at The Alpena News are excited to share with readers that the highest honor a legislator can attain from the Michigan Press Association each year for its First Amendment advocacy — our Sunshine Award — will from this year forward be known as the “Peter Pettalia Memorial Sunshine Award.”

The award is highly coveted in the halls of the legislature, and we are pleased to see Pettalia’s spirit forever remembered in this way.

This week during national Sunshine Week three state legislators were honored with this newly named award. The first recipients of the Peter Pettalia Memorial Sunshine Award were Rep. Jim Tedder, R-Clarkston, Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, and Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. All three were instrumental in advancing and protecting press freedom in Michigan this past year. All three worked hard to ensure citizens would have access to the information they need to make informed decisions.

We feel pretty confident that from up above, Pete would have been smiling this week.