Metro-East News

Learn about the April 4 election during this celebration of Sunshine Week

By now, you’ve probably read something about Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of the First Amendment and a reminder of news reporters’ mission to ensure the public’s business is conducted in the open.

The BND does this work every day, in small and large ways.

We are watchdogs over government, holding officials accountable and keeping an eye on how your tax money is spent. We write about public issues; we cover government meetings. We file Freedom of Information Act requests so we can review documents, and we take officials to court when they refuse to release those public records.

We also cover local election issues and give you as much information as we can about candidates for office.

Our newsroom team has been rolling out some of that coverage as we head into the April 4 election for dozens of local offices.

Reporters have sent surveys to over 400 candidates around the region and are posting their responses at as they receive them. We’ll also publish many of the responses in the Belleville News-Democrat over the next three weeks.

We’re in the midst of publishing a series about referendums that ask voters whether they support sales tax increases to pay for school facilities and public safety. The first three installments are available at

We will also write separate articles profiling some of the races, including the Belleville mayoral race. Watch for those in the days ahead, including coverage of the mayoral debate at Lindenwood University-Belleville on March 28, sponsored by Lindenwood and the BND.

The BND’s goal with its campaign coverage is to give you some of the information you need to make your voting decisions April 4. We can’t make those decisions for you, but in the spirit of Sunshine Week, we hope our coverage helps inform your vote.

Please let us know what you think of the campaign coverage as it unfolds. As always, we thank you for visiting and reading the Belleville News-Democrat.

Jeffry Couch is the editor and vice-president of the Belleville News-Democrat. He can be reached at 618-239-2551,, @jcouch