Huerfano’s County election: the best kind of Cruz control

Huerfano County Clerk Nancy Cruz with one of her constant smiles as Bill Knowles, a reporter with the World Journal, and Huerfano County Commissioner Gerald Cisneros talk with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Friday in Walsenburg. (SOS photo)

The line at the Huerfano County Clerk’s counter  never seemed to subside on Friday and Clerk Nancy Cruz said it’s not just because of Tuesday’s election.

Marriage licenses, recording documents, Motor Vehicle registrations, the growing population of Huerfano County has lots of business to do and Cruz’s staff make sure it gets done.

Of course, the election is the big thing right now and the staff and election judges were taking in ballots and scanning them on the new equipment from Dominion Voting Systems.

“What a good system,” Cruz said.

Myrna Falk used to work for the clerk’s office and now is an election judge. When asked her age, she replied, “I’m older than dirt.”

“I can remember when we hand counted ballots in the basement,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot of (election) systems, believe me. But being able to run 25 ballots at a time through (Dominion), that’s something.”

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Colorado’s “messy” caucus, marijuana intrigues Middle Eastern visitors

Video: A visit to Colorado.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to international visitors Wednesday.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to international visitors Wednesday.

Twelve international visitors on Wednesday peppered Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams about everything from marijuana to the “messy” precinct caucuses they observed the night before.

Back in their Middle Eastern countries, they are professors, bureaucrats, candidates and such. They hailed from a variety of countries, including Algeria, Kuwait and Tunisia. Some asked Williams questions in English; others relied on three three Arabic language interpreters.

The visitors were part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, which is under the U.S. Department of State. They also visited the state Capitol.

Palestinian Majed Bamya, who works for the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted that he and has colleagues watched Coloradans caucus Tuesday night.

“It was quite messy,” he told Williams, sharing the the same assessment of many Colorado voters who participated.

“Are you implicated in this messiness?”

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Sen. Cory Gardner, “our environmentalist,” addresses CACI

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at a lunch Thursday sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. (Photo courtesy of Evan Semón)
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at a lunch Thursday sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. (Photo courtesy of Evan Semón)

Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner was introduced at a business lunch in Denver on Thursday as “our environmentalist on Capitol Hill” and dang if he didn’t get up and recycle a joke from his 2014 campaign.

Gardner noted that the attack ads aimed at him featured “grainy black-and-white pictures” and seemed to air “every 30 seconds.”

“One of the greatest places you can go to as a Republican in a heated campaign is Cabella’s,” he said, referring to the giant fishing-and-hunting outlet.

Per usual, the line elicited laughter. Gardner talked about customers coming up to him at the Cabella’s in Grand Junction and asking how he was doing. Two men in particular were staring at him. One walked off but the other said, “Hey, hey, are you — ?” and Gardner smiled and said, “Yeah, yeah, I am.”

“So he calls his buddy over and says, ‘Look, it’s Bill Owens!'” Gardner said, referring to a former governor.

The crowd at the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry gathering let out a big laugh, and Gardner then finished off with another line: “So now I go to REI.”

Keith Pearson, chair-elect of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, and Travis Webb, a managing partner at BKD LLP, the new CACI chair, at a lunch Thursday (Photo by Evan Semón)
Keith Pearson, chair-elect of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, and Travis Webb, a managing partner at BKD LLP and the new CACI chair, at a lunch Thursday in Denver. (Photo by Evan Semón)

The crowd also welcomed CACI’s new chairman, Travis Webb, a managing partner at BKD LLP, one of the nation’s largest accounting and advisory firms. The Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry ‘s motto is “We champion a healthy business climate.”

Gardner last year defeated Democrat Mark Udall, becoming the first candidate in 36 years to knock off an incumbent Colorado U.S. senator. He told the crowd that he and Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and the rest of the Colorado delegation — featuring three Democrats and four Republicans — get along better than some delegations that are all members of the same party.

“The Colorado delegation works together better than any other delegation in the country,” Gardner said, adding that helped the state get the funding to finish the beleaguered Veterans Affairs hospital in Aurora.

The senator touched on a variety of topics, including broadband, deregulation, marijuana and banking, trade agreements and aerospace and technology. He got a big round of applause when he said the Senate passed the first long-term transportation bill in more than a decade, particularly after he spelled out what that money means for Colorado. And he talked about the need to bring the economic boom in certain parts of Colorado, such as the Denver metro area, to the rest of the state.

Gardner also joked on the situation in Washington, saying he is the only senator not running for president, and noted the one thing D.C. can agree on is who will not be speaker. He then pointed to CACI’s executive director, former state House Speaker Chuck Berry, and said a petition was circulating to put Berry in the post.

The line about Gardner being an environmentalist drew this response on Twitter from Conservation Colorado: “Interesting.” His environmental record was criticized during the campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s “Sweet Second Term” (Bom, bom, bom)

Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Hick-tones perform at the Denver Press Club's annual Gridiron Show. From left to right, Hickenlooper, Left to right:
Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Hick-tones perform at the Denver Press Club’s annual Gridiron Show. From left to right, Hickenlooper, Sabrina D’Agosta, Sarah Moss, Tom Scharf, Bob Rebholtz and Tom Clark. (Photo courtesy of the Hick-tones.)

Gov. John Hickenlooper admits he doesn’t have much of a voice, but he and the Hick-Tones, the group that backs him up every year at the Denver Press Club’s annual Gridiron Show, once again put together a heck of a performance, this year to the tune of “Sweet Caroline.”

It all began/Back at my little brewpub/Playin’ pool and slingin’ beer

Entrepreneur/Mayor and then the guv’na/I can’t sing but I’m still here

Hands/Shaking hands/Creatin’ jobs … for you and me/

Sweet state of mine (bom, bom, bom)/Colorado you’re so good/

Broncos front line (bom, bom, bom) Just ain’t working like it should/

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Secretary Wayne Williams discusses Nov. 3 election with county clerks

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, and county clerks from the state's mountain region, met Wednesday in Rifle. They are standing in front of the stained glass window in the Rifle Library that commemorates Theodore Roosevelt's visits to the area.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, and county clerks from the state’s mountain region, met Wednesday in Rifle. They are standing in front of the stained glass window in the Rifle Library that commemorates Theodore Roosevelt’s visits to the area.
Members of the Secretary of State's employee relations committee serve up pancakes to the staff Wednesday morning as part of an office fundraiser. They are, from left to right
Members of the Secretary of State’s employee relations committee serve up pancakes to the staff Wednesday morning as part of an office fundraiser. They are, from left to right, Abbas Montoya, Kris Reynolds, Jan Perry and Lynn Waring.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams hit the road again on Wednesday, this time heading to Rifle to meet with the mountain region county clerks at their fall meeting.

Williams already has traveled to Limon to meet with clerks from the eastern side of the state and to Alamosa to meet with clerks from the south.

But going to Rifle meant Williams missed the Colorado Secretary of State’s office breakfast sponsored by the Employee Relations Committee. Plenty of pancakes for $1.50 and two pieces of bacon for 50 cents.  It was the perfect way to start the first day of fall.

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