Democracy & Dragons in Phillips County

Darci Tomky, a reporter with The Holyoke Enterprise, interviews Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Friday during his visit to Phillips County Clerk Beth Zilla. (SOS photo)
Darci Tomky, a reporter with The Holyoke Enterprise, interviews Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Friday during his visit to Phillips County Clerk Beth Zilla. (SOS photo)

Phillips County Clerk Beth Zilla wore a Holyoke Dragons shirt to the office on Friday, and she wasn’t the only one dressed in forest green, gold and white.

Zilla explained her wardrobe to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams when he dropped by to see how Phillips County is preparing for the Nov. 8 election. “My husband’s the football coach,” Zilla said. “We’re playing tonight.”

Williams liked the shirt so much he bought a Holyoke Dragons shirt on his way out of town.

Phillip County voters elected Zilla clerk and recorder in 2002. Previously, she worked for the Sedgwick County clerk and then transferred to Phillips County in 2000.

“I just love the people — well, most of the people,” she said with a laugh, and then corrected herself again, “most of the time.”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Phillips County Clerk Beth Zilla outside her office in Holyoke Friday. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Phillips County Clerk Beth Zilla outside her office in Holyoke Friday. (SOS photo)

The population of Phillips County is around 4,300. The major towns are Holyoke, Haxtun and Paoli.

Zilla showed Williams around the office and introduced him to her staff. Her elections manager, Diane Rahe, told Williams that his election staff, particularly Ryan Shriner, has been very helpful and puts up with her frequent phone calls and questions.

That’s what Williams likes to hear as he travels to county clerks’ offices statewide. He was in northeastern Colorado last week, and will be visiting clerks in southern Colorado this week.

Willams and Zilla also discussed her two sons, Brett, 22, and Bradley, 19, who used to be sports standouts until being sidelined. Brett had a liver transplant; Bradley suffers from prosriatic arthritis.

“It’s a good thing they have good heads on their shoulders,” she said. “They’re like, ‘This is how it is’ and so their focus is on their investments and their future.”