Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams had an award to hand out to former Morgan County Clerk Connie Ingmire but he wasn’t sure when and how to present it to her so she would get the recognition she deserved.
Ingmire unwittingly solved the problem when she asked the secretary to speak to the Morgan County Republican Women at their brunch Aug. 11 in Fort Morgan. She is club president.
Williams talked about the office and the services it provides for elections, business registrations, notary training and such.
He also pointed out that when he was the El Paso County clerk and recorder and Ingmire held the same position in Morgan County, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler appointed them to a group to study election equipment. Williams continued the same committee when he became secretary of state in 2015, and Ingmire, although no longer a county clerk, agreed to serve.
“That’s why I was excited to come here, not just to visit you, but to give this award to Connie,” Williams said.
He then presented Ingmire with the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award. Each secretary of state is allowed to give out five NASS awards annually to a person or organization who has made a contribution to the office. Williams so far in his tenure has awarded four.
Club members applauded as Ingmire looked stunned. Her sister, Pat Samples-Ehrlich, had been tipped off and was in attendance.
“I was very surprised and very pleased,” Ingmire said afterward. “I’ve always considered Wayne Williams a wonderful state official. He does a lot to benefit the citizens of Colorado, as well as the Colorado County Clerks Association.”
Williams also has awarded NASS Medallions to the Douglas County school board; and attorney John Moye, and former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson.
Ingmire, 63, grew up in Brush. She served as Brush’s deputy city clerk from 1978 to 2004, when she was appointed Morgan County clerk and recorder. She now is self-employed flipping houses, and doing gardening work for the city of Brush.
Williams opened his remarks by telling the Fort Morgan Republican Women that in his first two years in office he visited all 64 county clerks.
“I didn’t just summon them to Denver to visit them, I actually drove to their offices,” he said. “So I’ve been to places like Akron and Dove Creek and places that think Fort Morgan is big because you have a Walmart.”
That got a big laugh, but his next statement garnered a big “here, here.”
“One of my strong beliefs is that you shouldn’t have to drive to Denver to get things done, although traffic on Interstate 76 is pretty good,” he said. “If you want to become a notary public, I added online training so you can take the test and get certified from home. If you want to set up a nonprofit, you can do it from home.”
He noted it only costs $10 for annual filing fees for corporations, the lowest in the nation.
“We want to try to make it easy for you to do business and inexpensive for you to do business,” he said.
Williams said when he was the chairman of the El Paso County Republican Party from 1997 to 1999, it was his job to be partisan and help get Republicans elected.
And although he was elected secretary of state in 2014 as the Republican Party’s nominee, he said the job requires him to be fair.
“I try to work with folks,” he said, noting that by cooperating with both sides of the aisles in the Colorado Legislature over the last two years he got 17 of 22 bills through the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House.
“I’ve work with all county clerks and it doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat or unaffiliated,” he said. “We work with all voters. When you call us, we don’t ask if you’re a Republican so we can put you in the fast line.”
The brunch was hosted by club member Shirley Kula, with help from her husband, Bob. Williams laughed when he read the directions to her house. “You will drive through a cornfield” — and that’s exactly what he did.
Lizzie Stephani, an intern with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, contributed to this report.