Secretary Williams visits Fremont County for clerks’ meeting

Secretary of State Wayne Williams is flanked by Fremont County’s chief deputy clerk, Dotty Gardunio, and Clerk Katie Barr. The Fremont County clerk’s office is hosting a regional clerks meeting. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited scenic, friendly Fremont County twice in two days as county clerks in the southern region are meeting in Cañon City.

Williams addressed the clerks Wednesday morning, answering questions, fielding compliments and talking about how new ballot measures voters passed in 2016 will impact their operations.

“Some of you are wondering will there be an issue on the ballot this November. Why might you care?” Williams asked, and then explained that if a statewide issue is on the ballot then counties get reimbursed from the state some of the costs of running an election.

One proposal going through the legislature would ask voters in November to decide on a sales tax increase to help fix Colorado’s roads. It is sponsored by Cañon City’s own Kevin Grantham, the Senate president and a Republican, and House Speaker Crisanta Duran, a Denver Democrat. The first committee hearing on their proposal, House Bill 1242, is being held today at the state capitol.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams today visited with Fremont County’s commissioners, Dwayne McFall, Debbie Bell and Tim Payne. (SOS photo)

After meeting with the clerks, Williams walked across the street to say hello to county clerk employees handling customers and to the Fremont County Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Debbie Bell, a Republican, said she was just leaving for Denver so she could testify in favor of the transportation bill.

Williams also met with reporter Carie Canterbury with The Daily Record in Cañon City to talk about the Secretary of State’s office, which handles business filings, bingo regulation and more, including elections.

At Canterbury’s recommendation, Williams then shopped at The CellHouse on Main Street, which offers for sale items handmade and homegrown by prisoners working in the Colorado Department of Correction’s Colorado Correctional Industries.

Secretary Wayne Williams displays a T-shirt from The CellHouse in Cañon City. Prisoners’ homemade and homegrown items are sold at the shop. (SOS photo)

The secretary was looking for a new tie, but didn’t find one he liked. He did, however, get a good laugh at the anti-shoplifting slogan seen throughout the store: “You take it, you’ll be making it.”

Fremont County, home to some 20 prisons, including the federal Supermax, has the highest proportion of inmates in the nation. Nearly 20 percent of Fremont County residents are incarcerated.

Williams was supposed to take a tour of the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility on Tuesday along with county clerks, but missed it because of an address mix up. Several clerks told Williams they enjoyed the tour — and the tastings at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey later that night.