Denver Press Club Hall of Fame adds five new inductees

It’s one thing to be inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame. It’s another to be part of a class of amazing individuals, whose résumés are beyond impressive.

Denver Press Club Hall of Fame 2015
Denver Press Club Hall of Fame 2015

The other members of the 2015 Denver Press Club Hall of Fame who were inducted on Friday night were famed Final Four photographer Rich Clarkson; Mary Chandler, the architecture critic for the late, great Rocky Mountain News; Mike Keefe, a Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist formerly of The Denver Post; and, posthumously, Damon Runyon, an early member of the Denver Press Club who is best known for moving to New York and writing “Guys and Dolls.”

(Click on the links, folks, for great reads on these people.)

Back in February, when the inductees were announced, I asked former state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams and columnist extraordinaire Mike Littwin to do the honors of introducing me during the banquet. Littwin is in Austin with a new grandson so Wadhams handled the job by himself.  It was a trip down memory lane as he mentioned previous Capitol reporters, including John Sanko, Fred Brown and Charlie Roos.

What an honor to be seated next to Dan Haley, former opinion page editor of The Post who introduced Keefe, and looking out at a crowd that included the only and only Andrew Hudson, the spokesman for Denver Mayor Wellington Webb at one point in his own amazing career. Also present at the Press Club: U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, former CU Regent Tom Lucero, former House Speaker Frank McNulty, former House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, former City Attorney Dan Muse, Denver Post folks Joey Bunch and Dan Petty, Eric Bergman with Colorado Counties Inc. and my new boss, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Thanks, Dick, for your remarks:

Read moreDenver Press Club Hall of Fame adds five new inductees

Secretary Williams updates county clerks on NFIB lawsuit

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, back and center, with county clerks from the state's southern regional at their fall meeting Tuesday in Alamosa. (Clerk photo)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams, back and center, with county clerks from the state’s southern region at their fall meeting Tuesday in Alamosa. (Clerk photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams gave county clerks in southern Colorado an update Tuesday on a lawsuit the state’s leading small-business group filed against his office, saying money collected through business filing fees shouldn’t be used to pay for election costs.

The clerks asked Williams to draw up a summary they can present to their commissioners on the fiscal impact  of the lawsuit filed by the National Federation of Independent Business. A Denver judge, who heard arguments in the case last week, is expected to make a ruling within two months.

Clerks present at the conference were, left to right, Melanie Woodward of Alamosa County, Lawrence Gallegos of Conejos,  Tiffany Parker of La Plata, Debbi Green of Park, Krystal Brown of Teller, Secretary Williams,  Lori Mitchell of Chaffee,  Kelley Camper of Custer, Cindy Hill of Rio Grande, Patti Nickell of Bent,  Carla Gomez of Saguache, Nancy Cruz of Huerfano,  Peach Vigil of Las Animas and Kathy Simillion of Gunnison.

Pueblo County Clerk Bo Ortiz wasn’t in the shot — he had stepped out to take a call when it was snapped.

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Colorado secretary of state visits Mesa County

Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Monday visited Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Rainer and elections director Amanda Polson. Mesa is one of eight counties involved in a pilot program testing voting equipment in the Nov. 3 election.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Monday visited Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner and elections director Amanda Polson. Mesa is one of eight counties involved in a pilot program testing voting equipment in the Nov. 3 election.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams dropped by the Mesa County clerk and recorder’s office on Monday to visit with clerk Sheila Reiner and discuss voting equipment the county will be using on Nov. 3.

Mesa County is one of eight volunteer counties that is testing equipment from four different voting-machine companies. Each of the four vendors is operating in one large county and a smaller county. Dominion is providing the equipment used in Denver and Mesa counties.

The system must be able to process mail ballots and allow for in-person voting for those who still mark their ballots in person at county polling centers, Williams said.

The other companies and the counties they are partnered with are: Clear Ballot, Adams and Gilpin; ES&S in Jefferson and Teller; and Hart Intercivic in Douglas and Garfield.

The state is looking to eventually adopt a uniform voting system.

Reiner praised the secretary of state.

“Wayne’s accessible. He’s been a good partner,” she said.

Williams will be in Alamosa Tuesday for the fall conference for the southern county clerks.  He was in Limon last week for the fall conference for the eastern county clerks.

On the road again: Secretary Wayne Williams swings through Colorado

Board of Education member Joyce Rankin from the 3rd Congressional District and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams have some fun Friday night posing in front of Lockheed Martin's photo screen at Club 20's steak fry in Grand Junction. (Joe Rice, Lockheed Martin)
Board of Education member Joyce Rankin from the 3rd Congressional District and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams have some fun Friday night posing in front of Lockheed Martin’s photo screen at Club 20’s steak fry in Grand Junction. (Joe Rice, Lockheed Martin)

Friday was a long day for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who attended a court hearing in  Denver in the morning, met with two county clerks on the Western Slope in the afternoon and then attended Club 20’s steak fry at its fall meeting in Grand Junction that night.

Next week Williams heads to the San Luis Valley for the southern region’s county clerks fall conference in Alamosa. On Thursday he was in Limon for the fall conference of the eastern region’s county clerks.

Williams, who took office in January, has been traveling the state meeting with clerks, including some who were elected last year and who will be conducting their first election on Nov. 3. He said it’s one of the best parts of his job.

Read moreOn the road again: Secretary Wayne Williams swings through Colorado

Busy times at the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office

Gov. Bill Owens and his El Paso County campaign chairman during Owens' 2002 re-election bid. Owens went on to win in a landslide and Williams won his first term as county commissioner. Williams now is Colorado secretary of state. (Williams photo)
Gov. Bill Owens and his El Paso County campaign chairman, Wayne Williams, during Owens’ 2002 re-election bid. Owens went on to win in a landslide and Williams was elected to his first term as county commissioner. Williams now is Colorado secretary of state. (Williams photo)

When I left journalism to become the spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, people said I’d be bored, that I’d pack it in within a few weeks.

Bored? Hardly. This is no sleepy state agency. Thing are happening at the Secretary of State’s Office — and not just because an election activist or two or three might need another hobby.

But I do miss writing for The Spot, The Denver Post’s award-winning political blog. As Kathy Green, the spunky spokeswoman for Gov. John Hickenlooper, likes to say, “If Lynn Bartels doesn’t blog about it, did it really happen?”

Over the years, first for the Rocky Mountain News and then for the Post, I chronicled the engagements, weddings and births — and not always in that order! — of a variety of people involved in Colorado politics. Sandwiched between news about party chairmanship problems or a wild U.S. Senate race or legislative hearings on gun-control measures, these blog items helped make politicians what they are: human.

George Merritt, the spokesman for Hickenlooper’s first gubernatorial run in 2010, celebrated the birth of twin daughters in 2012.

“Political consultant George Merritt  hasn’t been this happy since Dan Maes won the GOP gubernatorial primary,” I wrote in The Spot.

Rep. Jon Keyser, his wife Emma, and their new baby, Jack. (Keyser photo)
Rep. Jon Keyser, his wife Emma, and their new baby, Jack. (Keyser photo)

So I’m ecstatic that my new boss, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, has encouraged me to write a blog — and let me lift a picture from his office to run with my first piece. I laughed when one of  our tech guys asked who was in the picture with former Gov. Bill Owens.

The first baby to make the new blog:  Jonathan “Jack” Wyatt Keyser, the second child of Rep. Jon Keyser, R-Morrison, and his wife, Emma. Jack, who arrived Thursday morning, is the latest in a wave of Capitol babies. He joins a  sister,  Elleanor, who is 2.

Some days on the blog I might take a deeper look at what is going on at the office, an innovative program underway or another award the staff racked up. Just this week, the good folks who raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital praised our operation, saying Colorado has the best charitable registration system in the country.

Other days, well, stay tuned.