Secretary of State Wayne Williams welcomes new Americans

Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution hand out flags to guests Tuesday at a naturalization ceremony in Centennial. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams greeted the 38 citizens who immigrated from 24 different countries. (Lynn Bartels, SOS)
Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution hand out flags to guests Tuesday at a naturalization ceremony in Centennial. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams greeted the 38 citizens who immigrated from 24 different countries. (Lynn Bartels, SOS)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams welcomed 38 new Americans today at a naturalization ceremony in Centennial, where proud friends and families waved American flags as they took the oath of allegiance.

“My office helps Coloradans to achieve the American dream,” Williams told the 38, who immigrated from 24 different countries. “We are here to help you achieve exactly that.”

Samrawit Gebremeskel of Aurora poses with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Supervisor Scott Koenigsberg with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after receiving her naturalization certificate. (Lynn Bartels, SOS)
Samrawit Gebremeskel of Aurora poses with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Supervisor Scott Koenigsberg with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after receiving her naturalization certificate. (Lynn Bartels, SOS)

After the ceremony, the secretary of state’s office registered new citizens who wanted to immediately sign up to vote.

Colorado’s latest U.S. citizens, hailed from a variety of countries, including Burma, El Salvador, France, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Nepal, Russian and Vietnam.

“This shows the great diversity of those who want to make the United States their home,” said Scott Koenisberg with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He oversaw the ceremony and administered the oath.

Samrawit Gebremesekel, a 37-year-old who was born in Ethopia beamed throughout the ceremony. Afterward, she was asked what it meant to her. “Just everything,” she said.

Williams, who took office in January as Colorado’s 38th secretary of state, said he enjoys speaking to new U.S. citizens. Again and again he posed with a new American while their family and friends took pictures.

The Mount Rosa chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution handed out flags to the guests. The new citizens were asked to document their  journeys so their descendants will have a record of their experiences.

 

Secretary of Wayne Williams visits two clerks in southwest Colorado

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with election officials in Durango today. From left to right: Crystal Tweet in the Durango municipal clerk's office, Municipal Clerk Amy Phillips, La Plata County elections administrator Erin Hutchins, Williams, La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker and Parker's chief deputy, Ashli Stuckman.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with election officials in Durango today. From left to right: Crystal Tweet in the Durango municipal clerk’s office, municipal clerk Amy Phillips, La Plata County elections administrator Erin Hutchins, Williams, La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker and Parker’s chief deputy, Ashli Stuckman.
In addition, Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell and Secretary of State Wayne Williams at her office in Cortez on Friday.
In addition, Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell and Secretary of State Wayne Williams at her office in Cortez on Friday.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Friday toured La Plata County’s elections warehouse, where materials are stored and where the folks who process mail ballots and verify voter signatures do their work when the busy season hits.

In addition, Williams visited with Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell, who delayed the start of her vacation so she could meet with the secretary in Cortez.

Colorado’s coordinated election is Nov. 3. Mail ballots go out next week.

Williams met with La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Parker and her staff at the elections office in Durango and later toured the warehouse. Parker said she and Amy Phillips, the Durango municipal clerk, work very closely together “which is why it was so important for Amy to meet the secretary.”

“Wayne is a good man,” said Parker, who also is president of the Colorado County Clerks Association. “I appreciate his openness to touring our office and our warehouse.”

Williams, who served one term as El Paso County clerk and recorder, took office in January as Colorado’s 38th secretary of state. He was the first sitting county election official elected as secretary of state. Williams has been traveling the state and meeting with clerks to see what assistance his office can provide

 

Sen. Pat Steadman: Meet the people who want to be the next me

Erin Bennet, state director of the Colorado chapter of 9to5, at a rally at the state Capitol. (Bennett campaign photo)
Erin Bennet, state director of the Colorado chapter of 9to5, at a rally at the state Capitol. (Bennett campaign photo)

State Sen. Pat Steadman does most of the talking at his town halls, but on Monday he’s going to give three Denver Democrats vying for his seat a chance to make their case.

Steadman said next year is going to be “all about” the race for president and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s re-election bid.

“Not enough attention is paid to state legislative races,” he said, when asked about hosting the candidate forum.

“Now is the perfect time to ask people to learn more about candidates who want to represent them in the state legislature. It’s a public service.”

Sen. Pat Steadman, left, had endorsed Steve Sherick, right, in the race got his legislative seat. (Sherick campaign photo)
Sen. Pat Steadman, left, had endorsed Steve Sherick, right, in the race got his legislative seat. (Sherick campaign photo)
Gov. John HIckenlooper, left, has endorsed state Rep. Lois Court for Senate District 31. (Court campaign photo)
Gov. John HIckenlooper, left, has endorsed state Rep. Lois Court for Senate District 31. (Court campaign photo)

Steadman is term limited after 2016. Running for his seat are Erin Bennett, the state director of the Colorado chapter of  9to5, state Rep. Lois Court and emergency room doctor Steve Sherick.  Steadman raised some eyebrows earlier this week by endorsing Sherick with the town hall just days away. The endorsement was first reported by The Denver Post’s John Frank, who noted Steadman passed over his legislative colleague.

Steadman told the SOS he originally planned to hold the Senate District 31 town hall last month, and didn’t want to hold off any longer on endorsing Sherick.

The forum  will be held at the Eisenhower Chapel at Lowry, 293 Roslyn St. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Monday, and the event begins at 7 p.m. and is scheduled to end at 8 p.m.

Memorial service for Katy Atkinson set for 1 p.m. Tuesday in Denver

Katy Atkinson in 2005 on the Ref C campaign. (Rocky Mountain News)
Katy Atkinson in 2005 on the Ref C campaign. (Rocky Mountain News*)

A media critic once asked me why I interviewed the same small handful of media consultants — including Katy Atkinson and Eric Sondermann — over and over.

I told Jason Salzman that I had the numbers for about 15 consultants taped to my computer, but that I particularly relied on Atkinson and Sondermann because they were smart and “up on everything.”

“Bartels acknowledges that she quotes a relatively small number of political commentators repeatedly, and she says she’d like to expand her list. But it’s not easy to find sources who are willing to be quoted, call back before deadline, are honest and, finally, can articulate a sentence with ‘real words’ and ‘nouns,'” Salzman wrote in the Rocky Mountain News.

“She told me during her interview that I wasn’t using ‘nouns’ myself. She was right; I was muddled, but eventually I got my question out, sort of.”

Sadly, here are some  nouns: cancer, memorial service, cemetery, reception.

Atkinson died Sept. 24 at the age of 59 after a brief battle with brain cancer.  A memorial service honoring her will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 1820 Broadway, with internment at the Crown Hill Cemetery, 7777 W. 29th Ave. in Wheat Ridge. Services are open to the public.

Read moreMemorial service for Katy Atkinson set for 1 p.m. Tuesday in Denver

Politico Katy Atkinson loses her battle with cancer

Political consultant Katy Atkinson.
Political consultant Katy Atkinson.

Political consultant Katy Atkinson, who started out working for Republicans and eventually handled high-profile nonpartisan ballot measures, died today.

Atkinson was a sought-after spokesperson by reporters because she knew Colorado politics and she quickly returned phone calls.

“Katy Atkinson was smart and witty and just a delight to be around,” said Dick Wadhams, the former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and a veteran political consultant. “That’s what made her just a great person to work with in politics. In the most intense situation, she could laugh.”

Atkinson was a Colorado native who attended Wheat Ridge High School and Colorado College, where she graduated in 1978 — the same year she got her start in politics.

“She accomplished quite a bit but her son Randy was her greatest achievement,” said lobbyist Mike Beasley, who visited Atkinson Wednesday in hospice.

Atkinson was diagnosed with brain cancer. She was 59.

Read morePolitico Katy Atkinson loses her battle with cancer