Wayne Williams in Washington: senators, space & secretaries of state

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, visits Wednesday with Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, at Bennet’s office in D.C. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams participated in a variety of events today, including a visit with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, as the National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference kicked off in Washington, D.C.

Williams, who is NASS’ vice president for the Western region, was part of a panel mentoring secretaries of state elected in November. Williams has been paired  with Maggie Toulouse Oliver of New Mexico.

Williams on Friday will participate in a NASS panel looking at voter trust and confidence in elections.

“It is always good to meet with my counterparts across the nation to share ‘lessons learned,’ particularly after the closely watched 2016 presidential election,” Williams said.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and former state Rep. Joe Rice, who ran into each other today in a security line in Washington, D.C. (SOS photo)

When headed into Russell Building, where Bennet’s office is located, Williams bumped into former state Rep. Joe Rice, who now works for Lockheed Martin.

“It would make sense that our secretary of state — who represented Colorado at the launch of a Mexican Communications Satellite by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services a couple of years ago — would intuitively run right in the middle of a conference of people discussing space exploration!” Rice said about their chance meeting.

Lockheed Martin and other companies are in Washington to meet with NASA and to discuss steps to get to Mars.

“I know Wayne would volunteer to go on that journey to Mars as well,” Rice said, “but I think we’d rather keep him as our secretary of state for a little longer instead!” 

Williams also briefly visited with Congressman Scott Tipton at the space reception.

Williams talked to Sen. Bennet about several issues, including his support for the Election Assistance Commission, which some members of Congress are trying to disband, and an unpopular decree by the Department of Homeland Security in the waning days of the Obama administration to declare voting equipment “critical infrastructure” without the promised collaboration.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with his New Mexico counterpart, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, at the NASS conference today.

Williams also made a pitch for Neil Gorsuch, the native Coloradan tapped by President Trump to fill an appointment on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gorsuch, now a federal appeals judge, has ruled on one case involving the secretary of state’s office and ruled against the office.

But Williams was happy to point out many of the reasons he believes Gorsuch’s nomination should be approved, and he noted the Aurora Sentinel’s endorsement for Gorsuch this week.

“There’s not a single logical or ethical reason to try and delay or scuttle the Gorsuch nomination,” the Sentinel wrote.

Said Williams: “Judge Gorsuch has demonstrated precisely the qualities that make him well qualified for the Supreme Court.”