Israeli official tells Colorado lawmakers “We’re always on the front lines”

Senate President Bill Cadman, House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and David Siegel, the consul general of Israel, at the state Capitol today.
Senate President Bill Cadman, House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and David Siegel, the consul general of Israel, at the state Capitol today.

David Siegel, consul general of Israel, stressed his country’s relationship with the United States during a talk Thursday at the state Capitol.

“Our hope is that Israel not be a partisan issue in this country,” he said, as he was flanked by the Senate president, Republican Bill Cadman, and the House speaker, Democrat Dickey Lee Hullinghorst.

Among those in attendance were Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his chief of staff, Gary Zimmerman, along with Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, the assistant minority leader, and Rep. Brian Del Grosso, R-Loveland, the minority leader. Other lawmakers included Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, and Rep. Kim Ransom, R-Douglas County.

Siegel noted that Western governors who visit Israel regularly talk about drought, a problem that has not plagued his country despite it’s location. He credited “constant innovation” for making Israel a “water surplus country.”

He also spoke about terrorism, ISIS and coping with enemies.

“Boy, is the Middle East a messy place,” Siegel said. “We’re always on the front lines.”

 

 

“Alabama” book leaves Secretary of State Wayne Williams on a high note

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams holds his autographed copy of "Born Country," by Randy Owen, the lead singer and song writer of one of Williams' favorite musical groups, "Alabama."
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams holds his autographed copy of “Born Country,” by Randy Owen, the lead singer and song writer of one of Williams’ favorite musical groups, “Alabama.”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is a huge fan of the musical group “Alabama” so he was beside himself when he opened a package today to find an autographed book from Randy Owen, the group’s songwriter and lead singer.

The book was a gift from John H. Merrill, Alabama’s secretary of state.

“Enclosed is a personalized copy of Born Country: How Faith, Family and Music Brought Me Home by Randy Owen,” Merrill wrote. “When we spoke in July, I had no doubt that you would appreciate this! Please accept with my warmest regards.”

The inscription reads “To Sec. of State Wayne Williams, Randy Owen, 2015.”

From the leader singer of the group "Alabama."
From the leader singer of the group “Alabama.”

Williams and Merrill talked about the musical group during the National Association of Secretaries of State’s summer conference in Portland, Maine.

Williams said he believes they were discussing entertainment at the NASS’s summer meeting this year in Nashville, when Merrill mentioned Alabama. Williams said he was a huge fan and knew the group had more than 40 hit singles.

Pressed today to pick a few favorites, Williams struggled because he likes so many of their songs. My Home’s in Alabama? The Closer You Get? If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)? Mountain Music?

Every time a song title was mentioned, Williams belted out the tune.

 

Elections panel to make recommendation on voting machines to Secretary Wayne Williams

Members of the Pilot Election Review Committee looking at voting systems for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams are, left to right, attorney Jennifer Levin with Disability Law Colorado; El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman; Dwight Shellman with the secretary of state's office; Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton; former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson; Clarissa Arellano Thomas, PERC chair and a member of an earlier group looking at voting machines; former Morgan County Clerk and Recorder Connie Ingmir; and Weld County Commissioner Steve Moreno, former clerk and recorder. (Eddie Morgan/SOS)
Members of the Pilot Election Review Committee looking at voting systems for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams are, left to right, attorney Jennifer Levin with Disability Law Colorado; El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman; Dwight Shellman with the secretary of state’s office; Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton; former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson; Clarissa Arellano Thomas, PERC chair and a member of an earlier group looking at voting machines; former Morgan County Clerk and Recorder Connie Ingmire; and Weld County Commissioner Steve Moreno, former clerk and recorder. (Eddie Morgan/SOS)

Four voting machine companies on Friday pitched their systems to a committee appointed by Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams to look at moving the state to a universal voting system.

The Pilot Election Review Committee, or PERC,  has been meeting for months and members checked machines from the four firms that provided equipment for eight counties in the Nov. 3 election.

“The PERC members bring vast experience from many different levels across the state of Colorado,” Williams said. “I appreciate their dedication and diligence and look forward to their recommendation.”

A video of the day-long hearing will be available at the Colorado Secretary of State’s website next week. The committee will next meet on Dec. 4, where pilot county election staff has been invited to discuss their experiences with voting systems and answer questions of committee. The committee is expected to vote on a recommendation to Secretary Williams at its Dec. 11 meeting.

Read moreElections panel to make recommendation on voting machines to Secretary Wayne Williams

Joe Garcia: the coolest lieutenant governor, the hippest hot tamale

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia leads the Ignacio Bikers parade in 2011. (Photo Steve Lewis/Durango Herald/used with permission)
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia leads the Ignacio Bikers parade in 2011. (Photo Steve Lewis/Durango Herald/used with permission)

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia surprised Colorado today,  announcing he will step down some time next year to pursue his passion in higher education.

Garcia, the former president of Colorado State University-Pueblo, will become president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Since taking office in 2011 with Gov. John Hickenlooper, Garcia has been an unconventional lite gov.

Garcia also serves as the director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, which means the governor likely will have two jobs to fill.

Garcia is known for his sense of humor. When Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock were out of town, Garcia and City Attorney Scott Martinez were in charge of their government agencies. Garcia tweeted out their pictures and said “First move. Pueblo is now state Capitol.  What else?” Martinez tweeted, “Two hot tamales in charge. New law: Green chile is the official city and state fruit.”

Read moreJoe Garcia: the coolest lieutenant governor, the hippest hot tamale

Colorado voters in eight counties tested new voting systems

E-2, a 3-month old Australian Shepard owned by Casey and Rick Newman, is in training to be a service dog. She is learning the Clear Access voting system in order to assist disabled Gilpin County voters. The Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder’s office was one of two pilot county for the Clear Ballot voting system. (Gilpin County clerk's office)
E-2, a 3-month old Australian Sheperd owned by a Gilpin County election judge, checks out new voting equipment. E-2 is in training to be a service dog, including assisting disabled Gilpin County voters. Gilpin was one of eight Colorado counties involved in a pilot program testing voting systems. (Gilpin County clerk’s office)

Here’s to the eight Colorado county clerks, their staffs and the residents in those jurisdictions who tested new voting equipment in the November election as part of a pilot program.

The aim was to help Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams figure out which system might be best for the state. Colorado currently uses a patchwork of different systems and some machines are beyond repair.

 “It’s a great opportunity to try different systems and rather than just buying them, we’re trying a new kind of common-sense approach of try before you buy,” Williams said.

One large county and one mid-sized county were paired together to test machines from four different companies: Clear Ballot, Dominion Voting Systems, ES&S or Hart InterCivic.  Elections officials were effusive in their praise of the voting machine firms and the support their employees provided.

A committee that has been studying the issue of new voting machines for Colorado is scheduled to meet at  9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13, at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The four voting systems providers are coming in to answer questions from the Pilot Election Review Committee and make a pitch for their systems.

Read moreColorado voters in eight counties tested new voting systems