Innovation in bellwether Larimer County

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with the Larimer County clerk and board of commissioners during a visit to Fort Collins last week. They are, left to right, Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Lew Gaiter, Williams, Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers and Commissioner Steve Johnson. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with the Larimer County clerk and board of commissioners during a visit to Fort Collins last week. They are, left to right, Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Lew Gaiter, Secretary Williams, Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers and Commissioner Steve Johnson. (SOS photo)

When Wayne Williams was elected El Paso County clerk and recorder in 2010, he visited the clerks in Larimer and Weld counties before he took office.

At the time, Williams was a county commissioner and had heard from the Larimer and Weld commissioners and their residents “about the quality of their clerks and the operations they ran,” he said.

Williams, now the secretary of state, returned to the Larimer County clerk’s office in Fort Collins last week as part of his goal to meet with clerks statewide to see what issues they face and how his office can help.

“We spoke about the quality of support from the secretary of state and his office,” Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers said. “It definitely feels like a partnership, and that is for the good of the entire state.”

Myers worked alongside former Larimer County Clerk Scott Doyle, the clerk Williams visited in 2010. When Doyle stepped down in 2013, she was chosen as his replacement and elected to the post in 2014. Meyers has worked in the office for 14 years.

“I love public service,” she said. “I love being able to innovate on behalf of government because government isn’t usually very innovative.”

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey and Secretary Wayne Williams during his visit to Fort Collins last week.
Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey and Secretary Wayne Williams during his visit to Fort Collins last week.

Said Williams: “Angela demonstrates a continued desire to find ways to better serve Larimer residents. I appreciate her dedication to always look for new and better ways to do things.”

Williams and Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert visited Myers in the morning and then drove to Jackson County to see Clerk Hayle Johnson.

Larimer County, home to Colorado State University, boast the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, and the towns of Berthoud, Estes Park, Johnstown, Timnath, Wellington and Windsor. With nearly 216,000 voters — the majority unaffiliated, trailed by Republicans and Democrats — Larimer County is considered one of Colorado’s swing counties.

For example, in the hotly contested 2014 U.S. Senate race, Democrat Mark Udall received  a mere 539 votes less than Republican challenger Cory Gardner. Gardner would go on to win the race by less than 2 percentage points, becoming the first Coloradan in 36 years to defeat an incumbent senator.