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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Puerto Rico thanks Secretary Williams

The four secretaries of state who co-sponsored a resolution in support of self determination and equality for Puerto Rico were Luis Rivera Marín of Puerto Rico, Nellie Gorbea of Rhode Island, Wayne Williams of Colorado and Jim Condos of Vermont. (SOS photo)

The people of Puerto Rico have a special place in their hearts for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams after Williams co-sponsored a resolution supporting the island’s effort toward statehood.

The flags of the United States and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

That’s the word from Puerto Rico’s secretary of state, Luis Rivera Marín, after the National Association of Secretaries of State voted in support of the resolution at its winter conference in Washington, D.C., this week.

The vote on Monday followed a debate where some secretaries said NASS had no business getting involved in Puerto Rico’s quest for statehood.

“I’m so grateful for Secretary Williams’ support for the people of Puerto Rico,” Marín said. “His support has been outstanding and all of the people of Puerto Rico are really grateful for that.”

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Friends and fans mourn the death of “Irish Sean”

Republicans Allen Fuller and Sean Murphy on election night in 2004, when Bob Beauprez coasted to re-election in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District in no time at all.  Beauprez’s first race was so close it took three weeks to declare a winner. (Facebook photo)

UPDATE: Funeral services have been set for Sean Murphy, a Colorado native who became a political dynamo. Information at the end of this blog. 

Sean Murphy, who ran Republican Bob Beauprez’s first campaign for Congress and then became his chief of staff, has unexpectedly died of natural causes.

The death was announced today by Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who said of Murphy that his chief of staff was “a skilled Colorado operative before he became a congressional staffer.”

Tributes poured in for the 51-year-old Colorado native on his Facebook page.

“Murph made us all better. And happier,” Jordan Stoick wrote.

I will always have a special place in my heart for Murphy. I wrote about him and three other Colorado Republican operatives also named Sean for a blurb that appeared in the Rocky Mountain News on March 17, 2003:


What better day than St. Patrick’s to recognize four lads in Colorado Republican politics better known as the Four Seans or by their individual nicknames:

 Irish Sean: Sean Murphy, former executive director of the state GOP and chief of staff for Congressman Bob Beauprez.

Handsome Sean: Sean Walsh, who ran Congressman Bob Schaffer’s 1998 campaign and now is a lobbyist.

Strategic Sean: Sean Tonner, who managed Owens’ 2002 re-election campaign and now runs a GOP consulting firm.

Con Seanway: Sean Conway, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard.

When the item appeared, Murphy joked, “At least you didn’t call me Fat Sean.”

Man, could he make you laugh. I had covered Beauprez’s first campaign, in 2002, and still remember some of Murphy’s lines. “Of course, Bob went to the early Mass,” Murphy once said. “He was a dairy farmer. He doesn’t sleep in. Now me … “

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Denver Rustlers: A Colorado tradition

Gathered for today’s Denver Rustler’s event: Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Steve Weil of Rockmount Ranch, and Wes Friednash and Josh Hanfling, who both help oversee the event. (SOS photo)

For 33 years now, Colorado’s business, civil and political leaders have worked together to make Denver Rustlers the guardian angel of both the Colorado State Fair and the rural kids who show their animals at the event.

Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black and Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson. (SOS photo)

The Rustlers boarded three large buses today and headed south to Pueblo, where its pool of money will be used to bid on sheep, cattle and more during the Junior Livestock Sale.

“It’s one of my favorite events,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who works in Denver and commutes from Colorado Springs. “It’s always nice to get outside of the metro area and visit the rest of the state.”

The event begins in Greenwood Village with an early lunch at Del Frisco’s (home of the most incredible mini corn dogs you will ever eat).

It attracts current and former governors (John Hickenlooper and Bill Ritter, respectively), current and former agricultural commissioners (Don Brown and Don Ament, respectively); members of Congress and the General Assembly, county commissioners, city council members and more.

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Brittany & Ian: “In sickness and in health, in wins and in losses”

Ian Silverii and Brittany Petterson’s wedding announcement picture in front of the Governor’s Mansion.

I love the story of how Ian Silverii and Brittany Pettersen met.

On a cold December day at the corner of 13th Avenue and Sherman Street, right in front of Denver’s version of Portlandia, City O’ City, and just a block from the state Capitol, Ian was headed to a meeting and Brittany was standing in the freezing cold with a clipboard.

Brittany Pettersen and Ian Silverii laugh as friends and family tell stories about them at their wedding.

“Do you have a minute to save the children?” she asked.

“No,” Ian replied, “but I have about 30 minutes to flirt with you.”

I burst out laughing when I read about that encounter on the couple’s wedding website. I met Ian when he had the good sense to introduce himself to me at Hamburger Mary’s and say he was a huge fan of my reporting. His line to Brittany in 2009 was so him: fast and funny.

Their wedding Saturday at the Governor’s Mansion was such a Demapalooza that Sen. Lois Court joked enough lawmakers were present to go into an emergency special session and vote to fund the energy office.

Read moreBrittany & Ian: “In sickness and in health, in wins and in losses”