A 77-year-old man who was a charter member of Common Cause when it formed in 1970 became emotional today when he was honored by the Colorado chapter of the grassroots organization.
Roy Wardell, who now lives in Platteville, was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in 1970 when he saw an ad in the Capital Times about being a “member of the people’s lobby.” And so he signed up.
Since then, Wardell has served on the board of Common Cause in Minnesota and in Colorado, starting in 2009 through the beginning of this year.
“I am so proud of what Common Cause does,” Wardell said, when he gained his composure. “Don’t miss a chance to support the kind of work Common Cause does.”
“The Fightin’ Granny,” as former Rep. Gwyn Green was known, has died, unleashing a string of memories of the lawmaker, whose first victory in 2004 was so close it led to a recount.
She campaigned in a 1954 Chevy pickup that belonged to a fellow Jefferson County Democrat, Max Tyler, who succeeded Green when she resigned effective June 1, 2009, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with her grandchildren.
Among those who paid tribute to Green after news of her death spread was Ian Silverii, now the executive director of ProgressNow Colorado.
He wrote on his Facebook page how in 2007 he packed everything he owned in his grandfather’s 2001 Dodge Intrepid and drove from New Jersey to Colorado, where he managed his first state House campaign, for Green.
“Gwyn taught me everything about being progressive, having integrity, fighting the good fight and never letting up,” he wrote in part.
“I’ll never forget her infectious laugh, her tireless work ethic, and her short temper for injustice. Gwyn Green earned her nickname, ‘The Fightin’ Granny’ and she’s the one who taught me how to fight for what’s right.
“Rest in peace friend, I wouldn’t have this life without your mentorship and your trust in me. The world lost a warrior, and Colorado lost a legend.”
When election and cybersecurity officials from Colorado and and other parts of the nation gathered for a training exercise, they were given assignments to play as various election disaster scenarios played out.
Misleading tweets that confuse voters. Equipment outages. Hackers.
Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien served as a county election director.
Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill portrayed her former employee, Dwight Shellman, who now is the county support manager for the Secretary of State’s office.
And Shellman assumed the identity of various Denver reporters, from the Colorado Sun’s John Frank to 9News’ Marshall Zellinger, asking tough questions of election officials.
“I out Marshalled Marshall,” Shellman boasted.
Welcome to war games, election style or, as the exercise was officially dubbed, EPIC — Election Preparedness for Infrastructure and Cybersecurity.
The goal, Secretary of State Wayne Williams said, was to help prepare Colorado election officials for the Nov. 6 election. Clerks, their staffers, county IT officials and others gathered in five separate rooms and were instructed to deal with the scenarios that were unfolding.
Few organizations bring folks from across the aisle together as much as the Denver Rustlers, a group of business, civic and political leaders who work to help the Colorado State Fair and the rural kids who show their animals there.
The Denver Rustlers mingled this morning in Greenwood Village before boarding three buses headed south to Pueblo.
“I’m always honored to spend the day with these people and see the young 4-H’ers and their animals at the fair,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams.
“This is a proud Colorado tradition that brings people together from across the state.”
The event began at the Tavern Tech Center with lawmakers and lobbyists, City council members and congress members and more. The Rustlers wear distinctive shirts from Rockmount Ranch, courtesy of Mizel’s firm, MDC Holdings/Richmond American Homes Foundation, and straw cowboy hats donated by the Koncilja law firm.
“Sure, people get a little nervous putting that shirt on the first time, but this is one of the great bipartisan days of the year,” said Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. “It’s great to invest in our young people, and it’s just as great to spend a day with people from all parties enjoying each other’s company with no political pressure at all.”
Colorado’s county clerks gathered in Salida for their summer conference, combining educational workshops on various topics, such as election security, with lighthearted events, including visiting an arcade.
For some, the Colorado County Clerks Association conference was a bittersweet experience — more than one-fourth of the 64 county clerks will run their last election on Nov. 6. Some have decades of experience and have decided it is time to retire, others are term limited or choose not to stay in office.
“Working in the clerk’s office has been a wonderful, exciting ride,” said Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod, who began in 1989, eventually was elected clerk and now is term limited.
“I have been truly blessed to serve the citizens of Moffat County and to be in the company of the smartest, most dedicated, hardworking people in the world.”
Secretary of State Wayne Williams updated clerks on a variety of topics his office is handling.
“I served as El Paso County’s clerk and recorder so I understand what our clerks go through. They don’t just run elections. They record documents and register vehicles and more,” Williams said. “Our office is here to help them in any way we can.”
The clerks praised Williams and his staff for their efforts.