Will Colorado swing blue? Ask the media.

Moderator Dick Wadhams asked questions of three journalists — Chuck Plunkett, Shaun Boyd and Joey Bunch — during a discussion on the role of media in politics at a forum in Lakewood last Thursday sponsored by the Foothills Republicans. (Rick Entrom/Foothills Republicans)

Three journalists discussed Colorado’s status as a red/blue/purple state, the condition of their industry and how it impacts political coverage, and the upcoming election during a forum hosted by the Foothills Republicans.

Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Faye Griffin and her communications director Beth Clippenger at the Foothills Republicans lunch March 8. (SOS photo)

Chuck Plunkett, the editorial page editor of The Denver Post, CBS Denver’s Shaun Boyd and Joey Bunch with the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Colorado Politics fielded questions last Thursday from the audience and the moderator, former GOP chairman Dick Wadhams.

Before the start of the forum, Foothills President Rick Enstrom invited elected officials and candidates to introduce themselves, but it was Wadhams who got the biggest applause, when adding his 2 cents during a question about money in politics.

“Do away with every stupid finance law that exists,” he said. “Allow any amount of money from any entity at any time but with full and immediate disclosure and let the people decide if (the candidates) are bought off or not.”

Bunch got the biggest laughs with his homespun colloquialisms, including. “You know when a fact becomes a fact? When it gets a lobbyist.”

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Justin Pilcher: A short life, well lived

Congressman Ed Perlmutter and his wife Nancy, and political consultant Audrey Kline and her husband Justin Pilcher at the wedding of Rep. Brittany Pettersen and Ian Silverii at the Governor’s Mansion in 2017. Pilcher’s memorial service was Saturday. (SOS photo)

A while back I got into a Twitter spat with Audrey Kline, a great young Democrat I’ve encountered over the years, and when we talked in person about our 140-character standoff she explained her reasoning to me:

Rep. Jessie Danielson holds her daughter Isabelle at a reception following a memorial service for Justin Pilcher Saturday. (SOS photo)

Her husband had a rare form of cancer and where would people be without Obamacare.

Justin Spencer Pilcher died Feb. 25 at the age of 33.

It was standing-room only at his memorial service Saturday at Olinger Crown Hill, and as I looked at the sports paraphernalia and Scouts uniform and the videos, all I could think of was the ending of the indelible movie “Brian’s Song:”

Brian Piccolo died of cancer at the age of 26. He left a wife and three daughters. He also left a great many loving friends who miss and think of him often. But when they think of him, it’s not how he died that they remember — but how he lived. How he did live!”

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Colorado’s Ken Kester: “How a public servant should be”

The life of the late Sen. Ken Kester, known for his humor , effectiveness and support for southeastern Colorado, was celebrated Monday at separate events in Las Animas and Cañon City. (Facebook: Dan Kester)

Covering the Colorado legislature was a blast and I was always reluctant to single out a favorite lawmaker because I liked so many of them, but on April 11, 2005 I  came clean.

“Do you have a favorite legislator? ” Colorado Pols, a new blog that was a must read for politicos, asked me in a Q & A.

“My press colleagues and lawmakers always tease me about Sen. Ken Kester,” was my answer. “He was so much fun in the House and he is a riot in the Senate.”

And it was true. How could you resist a guy who couldn’t resist having some fun with fellow Sen. Jim Isgar over a sex education bill.

“Isgar told me’s coming out with a bill where you’ll have driver’s training and sex education in the same car,” Kester deadpanned.

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Boyz II Men, Colorado politics style

Chase Penry, the son of former state Sen. Josh Penry, and David Brophy, the son of former state Sen. Greg Brophy.  (Brophy photo)

When they were little boys, they lived across the state from each other but occasionally played together at the state Capitol when their dads brought them to work.

These days, Chase Penry and David Brophy live in the metro area and face each other on the basketball court. Chase attends Cherry Creek High School while David goes to Arapahoe High School.

The teens’ dads are former Sen. Josh Penry, who was from Grand Junction, and former state Sen. Greg Brophy, who was from Wray.

“It’s a small world after all,” the senior Brophy said. “As a parent in sports, it really changes the nature of the game when you know and truly like the opposition kids. You want him to play well, but his team to lose!”

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Colorado’s hard-working county clerks face unique challenges this year

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with three Eastern Plains county clerks at the Colorado County Clerks Association 2018 winter conference: Lincoln’s Corinne Lengel, Logan’s Pam Bacon, and Yuma’s Beverly Wenger. (SOS photo)

Colorado’s county clerks are bracing for major changes this year, from mailing primary ballots to unaffiliated voters for the first time ever to revamping the Motor Vehicle operations their offices handle.

To prepare for 2018, the Colorado County Clerks Association at its winter conference in Colorado Springs last week offered workshops dealing with duties that most clerks handle, including recording documents, issuing license plates and running elections.

The association also installed new officers for the coming year. Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell succeeded Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon as the group president.

“We need to thank the Secretary of State staff for working so hard with us this year and for the last several years,” Bacon said. “We have a pretty great working relationship with them and it takes all of us to make changes that work.”

Williams reviewed a list of achievements, including the completion of the first statewide risk-limiting audit designed to catch election errors. He also updated clerks on the installation of  ballot boxes to make it easier for voters to drop off their ballots 24-7, and the implementation of Dominion Voting Systems equipment that clerks say has made elections easier to run.

“We are the talk of the nation, as usual,” Williams said. “We are rock stars.”

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