Barbara A. Petersen, President First Amendment FoundationBarbara A. Petersen, President

Barbara Petersen is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and Florida State University College of Law. She has been president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation since 1995, and was previously a staff attorney for the Joint Committee on Information Technology Resources of the Florida Legislature, where she worked exclusively on public records legislation and issues. Petersen served as chair of Florida’s Commission on Open Government Reform, and was appointed by Senate President Don Gaetz to a government transparency task force.  Petersen currently serves on the boards of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, and Citizens for Sunshine.  A passionate advocate of the public’s right to oversee its government, she has provided open government training to thousands of government officials, public employees, citizen action organizations, and reporters across Florida.

Rachel Gelbmann, Marketing, Membership and Development Director

Rachel Gelbmann is the First Amendment Foundation’s Marketing, Membership and Development Director. Rachel has over ten years of nonprofit fundraising and management experience at various organizations including the Environmental Working Group, WildLaw and the Pinellas & Hillsborough County Workforce Boards. She originally moved to Florida to work for WildLaw, a nonprofit environmental law firm where she managed and fundraised for the ACES (Assisting Communities with Environmental Solutions) Program. Since then, Rachel has been a Director at the Pinellas and Hillsborough County Workforce Boards, managed development for a nonprofit cybersecurity foundation, and spent quite a bit of time working as a volunteer for her community and other important causes including the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Philosophy from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.



  • wolfh57

    I urgently need Barbara to contact me and yes I will make a contribution to her cause.

    I am 70 years old and very Civil Right and Due process I thought I had has been taken away from including getting access to Public Records.

    wolfgang W halbig

    • Rachel Gelbmann

      Thanks, Mr. Halbig. Barbara will be emailing you soon. Our apologies for the delay. Your comment was apparently caught in a spam filter.

  • Pingback: Florida Public Records Law « Florida Society of News Editors

  • William C. Dunn

    The Florida legislature has companion bills pending (HB 713 & SB 692) that would make the Florida Engineering Society (FES) the exclusive Board Nominating Committee for new appointments to the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. FES is not popular among engineers and represents only about 10% (mostly inactive) of Florida professional engineers. They are a very secretive organization and will resist any assertion that they are subject to the Sunshine law. Currently the Governor may appoint anyone that he chooses to the engineering board and that political process may need to change. An open government process similar to the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) would be better than what is in these bills.


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