All about U — and Loveland

The decorated wooden U by state Rep. Hugh McKean, a Loveland Republican who loves where he lives.

What do you mean you were “incredibly uncreative” when you decorated your U, Rep. Hugh McKean? It’s so, well, U! And it’s great.

The Loveland Republican is an unabashed homer who created the hashtag #LoveWhereILive. He hands out bookmarks, stickers and other items with the slogan, so it came as no surprise that he plastered his wooden U with them.

Rep. Hugh McKean and his wooden U.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams handed out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign to help inform unaffiliated voters that for the first time they could participate in Colorado’s primary election.  The campaign also reminded unaffiliated voters who got both the Republican and Democratic ballot in the mail to only vote one. If they voted both, neither counted.

Clerks continue to process ballots, although the election ended at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Check out the incredible U’s decorated by McKean’s colleagues at the state Capitol. Senate President Kevin Grantham capitalized on his noteworthy mustache, while Sen. Kerry Donovan used her ranch experience — and that’s no bull.

The UChooseCO campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter and this blog.

The best to you, Henry Sobanet

“Nobody has done more for Colorado than Henry Sobanet. There should be streets, buildings, and airports named after him. Henry stands as the antithesis of everything politics has sadly become. Though he stood at the helm of our budget, he cared not for money, but for making Colorado a better place.”

Budget director Henry Sobanet, center, and the two governors he worked for, Democrat John Hickenlooper on the left and Republican Bill Owens on the right, in 2015. Sobanet’s last day at the Capitol is today. (Sobanet picture)

The year was 2005 and I was assigned to cover the complicated ballot measures Ref C & D, dealing with taxes and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

I called the governor’s budget director, Henry Sobanet, all hours of the day and night. “Is this correct? What if that happens? Does this mean this?”

These days I’m answering phone calls from reporters.

At closing time recently I posted a Tweet about the ballot rejection rates from unaffiliated voters in two counties. Reporters immediately asked if I had more numbers. “I don’t,” I said,  “but I can call around to the clerks and get some.”

“You would do that on a Friday afternoon?” Megan Verlee of Colorado Public Radio asked.

Yes, because that’s my job.

Sobanet always answered his cell phone. I once had a a fairly lengthy budget conversation with him one Friday night before he finally admitted he was at a party and talking to me from inside someone’s bedroom.

Today is Sobanet’s last day at the state Capitol after serving the state and two governors for 20 years.

Read moreThe best to you, Henry Sobanet

All about U — it’s their Forté

Forté Advertising is behind the Secretary of State’s UChooseCO campaign. Team members are holding the wooden U’s they decorated. Back row, left to right, owner Nancy O’Dorisio, Jason Marvin and Rachel Ann Howard. Front row, Dar Ewing and Rachel Goodson. (SOS photo)

Here’s to our wonderful partners, Forté Advertising, who helped Secretary of State Wayne Williams launch the UChooseCO campaign to help inform unaffiliated voters they now can automatically participate in primary elections but if they get both the Republican and Democratic ballots, they can only vote one.

If they vote both, neither one will count.

The campaign also includes the distribution of wooden U’s to decorate. Sen. Kerry Donovan’s cow is amazing. Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien’s U is a work of art. Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb played off his 1991 mayoral campaign with his shoe and a shoelace.

The wqoden U’s decorated by Forté Advertising.

The folks at Forté decorated two U’s. We gave them permission to use the state seal — it’s under the control of the Secretary of State’s office. The other U features all things Colorado on both sides: logos for the Broncos, Avs, Rockies and Nuggets, columbines, the state Capitol, Red Rocks and more.

The legislature authorized Secretary Williams to launch a campaign to educate unaffiliated voters amid concerns from county clerks, party officials and others that unaffiliated voters as well as Democrats and Republicans would be confused about the new voting process for the June 26 primary. Forté Advertising has targeted active unaffiliated voters with a mostly digital campaign, which has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Safe and secure: Eagle County thrilled with recording grant

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and three county clerk and recorders, Regina O’Brien of Eagle County, Kim Bonner of Routt County and Matt Crane of Arapahoe County, in front of files at the Eagle County clerk’s office. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams traveled to the mountains on Monday and the eastern plains last Friday to tout grants county clerks are receiving to help them update and maintain equipment used to record important documents, from land transactions to mineral rights to marriage licenses.

Williams congratulated Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien and her staff, who were awarded $23,000 to purchase additional software modules intended to enhance electronic record storage.

“We all know how important it is to electronically preserve document images,” O’Brien said. “We are very, very excited for this addition.”

The money is part of $900,000 that the Electronic Recording Technology Board, created by legislation passed in 2016, has awarded in recent weeks.

“We know there’s a lot of technology in the state that’s outdated,” Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, board chairman, said during a news conference in Eagle. “This gives all counties a chance at having better technology and to be able to push more things to the web to allow citizens to access documents and electronically file.”

Read moreSafe and secure: Eagle County thrilled with recording grant

County clerks celebrate recording grants

Four county clerk and recorders — Cheyenne’s Pat Daugherty, Adams’ Stan Martin, Lincoln’s Corinne Lengel and Kit Carson’s Susan Corliss — stand with Secretary of State Wayne Williams in Hugo on Friday. They talked about the Electronic Recording and Technology Board and how it is benefiting rural and smaller counties and the customers they serve. (SOS photo)

Four county clerk and recorders praised Secretary of State Wayne Williams and the Colorado Legislature for working on a solution to help rural counties replace obsolete equipment vital to recording important documents, including land transactions.

Williams said the second portion of their title, recorder,  is often overlooked but keenly important.

“For most Coloradans, their biggest investment is the home, the ranch, that we own,” he said. “So making sure those property records are accurate is absolutely critical.”

He met with clerks Stan Martin of Adams County, Pat Daugherty of Cheyenne County, Susan Corliss of Kit Carson County and Corinne Lengel of Lincoln County in Lengel’s office in Hugo on Friday. They discussed the Electronic Recording Technology Board, an enterprise account created by the legislature in 2016.

The board announced Thursday  that 15 rural counties will be the first recipients of grants it will be doling out.

Daugherty couldn’t be happier. “We don’t have any extra money,” she said.

Read moreCounty clerks celebrate recording grants