Fairview High School — a voter registration feat

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, third from left, with Fairview High School students and teachers. (Boulder Valley School District photo)

Secretary Wayne Williams visited Fairview High School in Boulder on Friday to recognize  the efforts in getting their peers registered to vote by presenting students with the Eliza Pickrell Routt award.

Thanks to the work of more than two dozen students and one dedicated social studies teacher, a whopping 90 percent of eligible seniors are registered to vote at Fairview. Seniors Henry Magowan, Ayesha Rawal and Edden Rosenberg and two freshmen, Sophia Murray and Elyana Steinberg, along with 25 freshman volunteers, visited classrooms, entered data and carried out the logistics of the project.

Aaron Hendrikson, a social studies teacher, was approached by the Fairview Young Democrats club with the belief that “we need to do a better job engaging young citizens in our democracy,” the students told him. “For a variety of reasons, we currently have a politics that is dominated by older voters and their priorities and as a consequence, younger Americans often don’t see themselves represented in government.”

Secretary Wayne Williams congratulates students at the Fairview High School library. (Boulder Valley School District photo)

Their motto throughout this project was a quote from Margaret Mead, a prominent American anthropologist, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, dedicated citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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The Post: “How Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote”

A story in The Washington Post today about Colorado’s stellar election security has been read far and wide — to the delight of those who handle elections in the Centennial State.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and the SOS chief information officer Trevor Timmons, have made election security a goal. (SOS office)

“Nationwide, states are taking a variety of measures to bolster their election systems ahead of November, from replacing old equipment to conducting vulnerability tests to hiring new staff,” Post reporter Derek Hawkins wrote. “But few, if any, have gone as far as Colorado has — indeed, many states don’t have the funding to make the upgrades.”

The headline of the article: “How Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote.”

“If people perceive a risk, they’re less likely to participate in voting,” Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is quoted as saying.  “We want to protect people from that threat, and we want to people to perceive that they are protected from that threat.”

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SBA touts Colorado’s amazing small business success stories

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, left, and Dan Nordberg, right, the regional director of the U.S. Small Business Administration Region VIII, with the winners of the Colorado Small Business Persons of the Year award, Margot Langstaff and Elisa Hamill with LifeHealth in Littleton. The Colorado-based company provides a range of clinical health services. (SOS photo)

Check out these Small Business Administration loan success stories in Colorado: Otter Box, Chipolte, Snooze, New Belgium Brewing and more.

At an awards ceremony Wednesday in Centennial,  Dan Nordberg, regional director of the SBA’s District VIII, emphasized the impact of small businesses and the SBA in the state.

“Over the last 64 years more than 70,000 Colorado companies have financed their American dream using the SBA’s funding programs,” he said.

The ceremony was part of National Small Business Week, which includes local business events and workshops throughout the state. In addition, each state hands out awards and some recipients are honored at an event in Washington, D.C.

“It was heartwarming to see the successs of these great businesses.  More than a million Coloradans work for the more than 600,000 Colorado small businesses,” noted Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. “Our office works hard to provide common sense easy filings for every business and nonprofit across the state.”

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Go Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

The Google Boulder campus, the host of Go Code Colorado’s 2018 mentor weekend. (Go Code photo)

Go Code Colorado‘s fifth annual mentor weekend kicked off last Friday at the new Google campus in Boulder.

Go Code is a statewide business app challenge housed in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The award-winning challenge is the first and only statewide effort of its kind that uses public data to solve business problems. It is overseen by staffer Andrew Cole.

This year’s finalist apps focus on housing development, food trucks, childcare and transportation.

Andrew Cole explaining the 2018 “Go Code challenge coin” to the crowd on Friday. (Go Code photo)

Cole thanked the teams for helping to make public data in Colorado more accessible. He then handed out a “2018 Go Code challenge coin,” similar to challenge coins that military members receive upon finishing boot camp. He explained that the story goes if a military member is caught without his coin, drinks are on that person.

Mentor weekend provides an opportunity for all 10 teams to receive mentorship by leaders from Boom Town AcceleratorCA TechnologiesGoogleHouse of GeniusTwitter and other minds from Colorado’s tech and entrepreneurial community.

This years competition kicked off Feb. 7 in Denver. In attendance were Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his predecessor, Scott Gessler, who was in office when the Go Code Colorado challenge began, as well as various SOS staffers and Colorado lawmakers.

The challenge weekend began April 13 in five cities statewide: Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction and Fort Collins. Two teams from each location were named finalists, awarded $2,500 each and headed to Boulder for mentor weekend April 27-29.

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Elections staff brings joy to Judi’s House

SOS elections staff serving dinner to Judi’s House children and their families. From left to right, Melissa Polk, legal manager for the elections division, Kris Reynolds, campaign finance trainer, Hilary Rudy, deputy elections director, Annie LeFleur, elections legal fellow, and Minerva Padron, voter registration coordinator/Judi’s House grief counselor. (SOS photo)

Big hearts and some chicken goes a long way, as a group of election staffers with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office found out when they volunteered at Judi’s House.

Minerva Padron, a voter registration coordinator, is also a bilingual grief counselor at Judi’s House, a nonprofit devoted to providing care for grieving children and their families. It was founded by former Denver Broncos quarterback Brian Greise and his wife. Padron visits middle schools in the Denver metro area and holds “grief groups,” group counseling sessions for students who have lost someone close to them.

Judi’s House, in the City Park West neighborhood of Denver. (Judi’s House photo)

Two years ago, SOS staffers served dinner at Ronald McDonald house in Denver so Padron suggested a similar volunteer opportunity at Judi’s House.

Deputy elections director Hilary Rudy jumped at the idea and sent an email to elections staffers asking if they could donate time or money to the cause. She said it wasn’t hard to find volunteers or donations because a lot of people were interested.

“I tried to make it clear I wasn’t pressuring them given my position,” she joked.

Once they had a group together and donations, the group bought deli chicken, mashed potatoes, fruit salad and rolls and served it to the 60 or so children and families at Judi’s House last Thursday.

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