Bruce Benson, one of Colorado’s best

Bruce Benson smiles as he talks to reporters after he was voted to be president of the University of Colorado by the CU Board of Regents Feb. 20, 2008. (Rocky Mountain News/Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library)

University of Colorado President Bruce Benson’s announcement last week that he was retiring in a year brought much deserved accolades about his contributions to education, but the reality is Benson’s investment in Colorado straddles a variety of issues. We are all the better for it.

I covered the legislature in 2005 when deep, deep cuts still hadn’t solved the budget crisis. There were very real behind-the-scene discussions about what was next. Community colleges and state parks were on the list, even though closing them would trigger economic disasters in those regions.

Bruce, an oilman and business executive, and two other high-profile Republicans, Gov. Bill Owens and then CU President Hank Brown, put their reputations on the line to push for the passages of Referendums C and D. The right dissed the tax measures but the trio held firm.

“This isn’t about politics; this is about good fiscally conservative policies,” Benson told the Pueblo Chieftain.

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Anchors A-Wayne! Secretary Williams finishes naval submarine chapter

The USS Colorado officially joined the fleet today in a ceremony in Connecticut attended by Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and other Coloradans.

Four years ago, Colorado’s new secretary of state, Wayne Williams, headed to Rhode Island to participate in a ceremony marking the official start of construction on the USS Colorado.

On Saturday the submarine officially joined the U.S. fleet in a ceremony attended by Williams, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the state’s two U.S. senators, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and others.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and his wife Janet, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne of Colorado Springs at today’s naval ceremony in Connecticut.

“It’s exciting to know that Colorado’s name and our values will be carried around the world by such a magnificent submarine,” Williams said.

Sen. Bennet shared that sentiment.

“For decades, people will see her come and go and say ‘There goes the Colorado.’ And I think that’s wonderful,” he told The Denver Post.

Colorado Politics posted a video of the event with a story that began “Colorado has its Broncos, its Rocky Mountains and its Olympic stars. Saturday morning it officially added a $2.7 billion nuclear attack submarine.”

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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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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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Jason Kander’s candor delights Colorado Democrats

Jason Kander assembled a rifle while blindfolded in his U.S. Senate race, a topic that came up when he spoke to the Colorado Democratic Party at its annual dinner Saturday in Denver.

It turns out that the Missouri Democrat, who now is the president of Let America Vote,  hired the same ad man behind John Hickenlooper’s spot featuring the then-Denver mayor showering while clothed when running for Colorado governor in 2010.

“Jason ran, in my view, the best Senate campaign in 2016, Republican or Democrat,” U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado said when he introduced Kander.

“And it wasn’t just because of his good ads or his family or because he’s a compelling speaker. It was because of his character. Jason the candidate was no different than the father, the husband, the former intelligence officer, the Secretary of State.”

Ah, secretary of state.

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