All about U — and your quest to be Colorado’s first “kid governor”

Hudson Short, 7, who wants to be Colorado’s first “kid governor,” and his wooden U. (Family photo)

Of course our office sent a wooden U to Hudson Short to decorate. How could we resist after he mailed Secretary of State Wayne Williams a letter in May asking to be “Colorado’s first kid governor”?

“Will kid candidates be included in the next election?” Hudson wanted to know. “I want to make Colorado a great place to live. I want to help people, especially the homeless and poor. Would you please let me know how I can be kid governor?”

Well, Hudson, the Colorado Constitution says you have to be 30 to run for governor, but it makes no mention of the office of “kid governor.” We might have to talk with Gov. John Hickenlooper, who leaves office in January, and the Colorado legislature about that one.

It also says you have to live in Colorado, and your mother, Diana Gatschet, tells us you’ll be moving to New York City in August. Have a great time in the Big Apple. Maybe you can be their first kid  mayor.

Read moreAll about U — and your quest to be Colorado’s first “kid governor”

Secretary Williams announces the launch of new business start-up tool

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne today launched MyBizColorado, a tool designed to simplify registering a business and obtaining state licenses and registrations.

The MyBizColorado tool creates a single system for new businesses to interact with multiple state agencies responsible for new businesses, including the Secretary of State’s office. The tool works on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. It is tailored to the needs of the small business users instead of state agencies.

The lieutenant governor kicked off the press conference by expressing her excitement about MyBizColorado.

Secretary Wayne Williams shares his experience with starting a business as Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Gov. John Hickenlooper look on. (SOS photo)

“In an excellent example of collaborating across government,”she said. “You’re going to hear from the secretary of state and the sovernor about delivering a product with real value for people looking to do business here.”

Colorado businesses are required to register with the Secretary of State’s office.

Williams explained how he stopped working for a large law firm to start his own business and how difficult it was because there was really no help or guidance.

“The purpose of MyBizColorado is to walk you through the process by asking you questions and doing it in a user-friendly fashion,” he said. “Whether it’s registering your business, establishing eligibility for tax withholding, unemployment insurance, or any steps you need to take to establish a business, it is designed to be focused on the users.”

Hickenlooper is familiar with the struggles of starting a business. He founded Wynkoop Brewing Co. in the late 1980s.

“That experience and how much paperwork there was and how much red tape there was, was really the provocation that took us to try and address these things,” the governor said.

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Fairview High School — a voter registration feat

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, third from left, with Fairview High School students and teachers. (Boulder Valley School District photo)

Secretary Wayne Williams visited Fairview High School in Boulder on Friday to recognize  the efforts in getting their peers registered to vote by presenting students with the Eliza Pickrell Routt award.

Thanks to the work of more than two dozen students and one dedicated social studies teacher, a whopping 90 percent of eligible seniors are registered to vote at Fairview. Seniors Henry Magowan, Ayesha Rawal and Edden Rosenberg and two freshmen, Sophia Murray and Elyana Steinberg, along with 25 freshman volunteers, visited classrooms, entered data and carried out the logistics of the project.

Aaron Hendrikson, a social studies teacher, was approached by the Fairview Young Democrats club with the belief that “we need to do a better job engaging young citizens in our democracy,” the students told him. “For a variety of reasons, we currently have a politics that is dominated by older voters and their priorities and as a consequence, younger Americans often don’t see themselves represented in government.”

Secretary Wayne Williams congratulates students at the Fairview High School library. (Boulder Valley School District photo)

Their motto throughout this project was a quote from Margaret Mead, a prominent American anthropologist, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, dedicated citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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Go Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

The Google Boulder campus, the host of Go Code Colorado’s 2018 mentor weekend. (Go Code photo)

Go Code Colorado‘s fifth annual mentor weekend kicked off last Friday at the new Google campus in Boulder.

Go Code is a statewide business app challenge housed in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The award-winning challenge is the first and only statewide effort of its kind that uses public data to solve business problems. It is overseen by staffer Andrew Cole.

This year’s finalist apps focus on housing development, food trucks, childcare and transportation.

Andrew Cole explaining the 2018 “Go Code challenge coin” to the crowd on Friday. (Go Code photo)

Cole thanked the teams for helping to make public data in Colorado more accessible. He then handed out a “2018 Go Code challenge coin,” similar to challenge coins that military members receive upon finishing boot camp. He explained that the story goes if a military member is caught without his coin, drinks are on that person.

Mentor weekend provides an opportunity for all 10 teams to receive mentorship by leaders from Boom Town AcceleratorCA TechnologiesGoogleHouse of GeniusTwitter and other minds from Colorado’s tech and entrepreneurial community.

This years competition kicked off Feb. 7 in Denver. In attendance were Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his predecessor, Scott Gessler, who was in office when the Go Code Colorado challenge began, as well as various SOS staffers and Colorado lawmakers.

The challenge weekend began April 13 in five cities statewide: Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction and Fort Collins. Two teams from each location were named finalists, awarded $2,500 each and headed to Boulder for mentor weekend April 27-29.

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Elections staff brings joy to Judi’s House

SOS elections staff serving dinner to Judi’s House children and their families. From left to right, Melissa Polk, legal manager for the elections division, Kris Reynolds, campaign finance trainer, Hilary Rudy, deputy elections director, Annie LeFleur, elections legal fellow, and Minerva Padron, voter registration coordinator/Judi’s House grief counselor. (SOS photo)

Big hearts and some chicken goes a long way, as a group of election staffers with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office found out when they volunteered at Judi’s House.

Minerva Padron, a voter registration coordinator, is also a bilingual grief counselor at Judi’s House, a nonprofit devoted to providing care for grieving children and their families. It was founded by former Denver Broncos quarterback Brian Greise and his wife. Padron visits middle schools in the Denver metro area and holds “grief groups,” group counseling sessions for students who have lost someone close to them.

Judi’s House, in the City Park West neighborhood of Denver. (Judi’s House photo)

Two years ago, SOS staffers served dinner at Ronald McDonald house in Denver so Padron suggested a similar volunteer opportunity at Judi’s House.

Deputy elections director Hilary Rudy jumped at the idea and sent an email to elections staffers asking if they could donate time or money to the cause. She said it wasn’t hard to find volunteers or donations because a lot of people were interested.

“I tried to make it clear I wasn’t pressuring them given my position,” she joked.

Once they had a group together and donations, the group bought deli chicken, mashed potatoes, fruit salad and rolls and served it to the 60 or so children and families at Judi’s House last Thursday.

Read moreElections staff brings joy to Judi’s House