Secretary Williams teams up with FBI, CU Denver for cybersecurity event

FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Calvin Shivers, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell addressed elected officials, candidates and others today before the start of a cybersecurity training exercise. (FBI photo)

Another day, another exercise on cybersecurity for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, this time teaming up with the Denver FBI office and the University of Colorado Denver.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams joined with FBI Special Agent in Charge Calvin Shivers and CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell today in welcoming elected officials and candidates to a training event at the Tivoli Turnhalle. The half day seminar was designed to help them maintain a posture of awareness and protect themselves from cyber intrusion.

Among those at today’s cybersecurity event put on by the FBI and the Colorado Secretary of State’s office were Fremont County Deputy Clerk Dotty Gardunio and elections director Jami Goff. Behind them are the SOS’ chief information security officer Rich Schliep and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

“We have with us today candidates, parties, and others because cybersecurity isn’t just limited to the actual election process,” Williams said, in his introduction.

“For a lot of individuals, when they hear a report of a hack, they don’t distinguish between the ballot and information that might have been obtained about a candidate or a party. So I appreciate your willingness to be here, your willingness to participate and, frankly, your willingness to actually show leadership in this area.”

Among those at Monday’s exercise were Martha Tierney, the attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party, Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, and Tom Lucero, a former member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

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Secretary Williams’ war games, election style proves to be epic

Colorado Secretary of State shakes hands with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen before her keynote speech at Colorado’s Election Preparedness for Infrastructure and Cybersecurity exercise Thursday. (DHS photo)

The role-playing was, well, EPIC.

When election and cybersecurity officials from Colorado and and other parts of the nation gathered for a training exercise, they were given assignments to play as various election disaster scenarios played out.

Misleading tweets that confuse voters. Equipment outages. Hackers.

Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien served as a county election director.

Dwight Shellman, the county support manager for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, plays the role of a reporter asking tough questions during a mock election disaster drill.  He is interviewing Tammy Patrick of Democracy Fund, while in the background is the SOS’s Steve Bouey. (SOS photo)

Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill portrayed her former employee, Dwight Shellman, who now is the county support manager for the Secretary of State’s office.

And Shellman assumed the identity of various Denver reporters, from the Colorado Sun’s John Frank to 9News’ Marshall Zellinger, asking tough questions of election officials.

“I out Marshalled Marshall,” Shellman boasted.

Welcome to war games, election style or, as the exercise was officially dubbed, EPIC — Election Preparedness for Infrastructure and Cybersecurity.

The goal, Secretary of State Wayne Williams said, was to help prepare Colorado election officials for the Nov. 6 election. Clerks, their staffers, county IT officials and others gathered in five separate rooms and were instructed to deal with the scenarios that were unfolding.

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Got milk? Secretary Williams tours Fort Morgan dairy

Dairy farmer Chris Kraft spotted something unusual with a cow about to give birth so he tried to get his hand in to “rearrange” the calf, as he described it. That didn’t work so the cow was brought inside the maternity barn to get some help. Secretary of State Wayne Williams and state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg were with Kraft.  (SOS photo)

FORT MORGAN – When you’re a dairy farmer who sells milk to a cheese producer, it’s only natural that your last name evokes the question:

Kraft, as in Kraft Cheese?

No, Chris Kraft responded, he’s not from that Kraft family. He’s from the Kraft family that grew up in South Africa, where his father was a minister and Desmond Tutu was a dinner guest before Tutu became an international figure.

State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, Secretary of State Wayne Williams and dairy farmer Chris Kraft stand outside the cooling tanks at the Kraft dairy.  The milk must be chilled at less than 40 degrees. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams toured Kraft dairy with state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, on Aug. 16.

How appropriate that this blog appears on Labor Day weekend because even with the latest in milking equipment, a dairy farm is a labor-intensive operation.

“I could not get over the size of the operation, and how well it is run,” Secretary Williams said. “This is an exceptional Colorado business and the awards on their walls are proof of that.”

Among those awards: Morgan County’s Large Business of the Year in 2007. The Krafts employ 85 people.

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Denver Rustlers meet again, head to State Fair in Pueblo

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne William mingled with fellow Denver Rustlers this morning in Greenwood Village before heading to the State Fair in Pueblo. From left to right, Rep. Dominque Jackson, D-Aurora, Williams, lobbyist Peggi O’Keefe and Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. (SOS photo)

Few organizations bring folks from across the aisle together as much as the Denver Rustlers, a group of business, civic and political leaders who work to help the Colorado State Fair and the rural kids who show their animals there.

The Denver Rustlers mingled this morning in Greenwood Village before boarding three buses headed south to Pueblo.

State Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, and his 2-year-old daughter Cora, at the Denver Rustlers event. (SOS photo)

“I’m always honored to spend the day with these people and see the young 4-H’ers and their animals at the fair,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

“This is a proud Colorado tradition that brings people together from across the state.”

The event began at the Tavern Tech Center with lawmakers and lobbyists, City council members and congress members and more. The Rustlers wear distinctive shirts from Rockmount Ranch, courtesy of Mizel’s firm, MDC Holdings/Richmond American Homes Foundation, and straw cowboy hats donated by the Koncilja law firm.

“Sure, people get a little nervous putting that shirt on the first time, but this is one of the great bipartisan days of the year,” said Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. “It’s great to invest in our young people, and it’s just as great to spend a day with people from all parties enjoying each other’s company with no political pressure at all.”

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Secretary Williams on 2020 census: “We want Colorado counted”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Gillian Winbourn and Rosemary Rodriguez of “Together We Count” today discussed efforts to ensure state residents get counted in the 2020 census. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams told the founders of  “Together We Count” that he is committed to their efforts in getting residents to respond to the 2020 census.

The former El Paso County commissioner said he understands how important that information is for local government because a number of funding formulas – for transportation and human services, for example – are based on census data.

“We want people to be citizens when it comes to voting, but we still want an accurate census,” Williams said. “As a commissioner, I was active 10 years ago encouraging people to participate in the census, and I’m happy to do that again.

“We want Colorado counted.”

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