Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits Eagle, Mesa counties

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams joined Mesa County elected officials for their quarterly luncheon today in Grand Junction. They are: Commissioner Scott McInnis, Surveyor Patrick Green, Treasurer Janice Rich (the former county clerk), Williams, Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner, Commissioner Rose Pugliese, Sheriff Matt Lewis, Assessor Ken Brownlee and Commissioner John Justman.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams joined Mesa County elected officials for their quarterly luncheon Wednesday in Grand Junction. They are: Commissioner Scott McInnis, Surveyor Patrick Green, Treasurer Janice Rich (the former county clerk), Williams, Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner, Commissioner Rose Pugliese, Sheriff Matt Lewis, Assessor Ken Brownlee and Commissioner John Justman.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams hit the road Wednesday, visiting with Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton and elected officials in Mesa County.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton and her staff Wednesday in Vail. From left to right: Jenny Thompson, administrative technician; Karen Sepp, election deputy; Stacey Jones, election manager; Williams and Simonton.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton and her staff Wednesday in Vail. From left to right: Jenny Thompson, administrative technician; Karen Sepp, election deputy; Stacey Jones, election manager; Williams and Simonton.

“It’s great to get away from the Front Range and visit my friends on the Western Slope,” Williams said. “Hearing what’s going on their communities helps me make better decisions as the Colorado secretary of state.”

Williams toured Eagle County’s election division in the morning, before new equipment from Dominion Voting Systems arrived in the afternoon. It was tested today.

Simonton served on the committee that reviewed four election firms that piloted their equipment in eight counties in the November election. The committee unanimously chose Dominion as its top choice, and Williams chose Dominion so Colorado could move to a single-voting system.

“Dominion has been really terrific to work with,” Simonton said. It’s been a really easy process.”

In Grand Junction, Williams joined Mesa County elected officials who meet quarterly for lunch.

Colorado scores an “A” for campaign finance transparency

Coloradp makes the grade when it come to campaign finances.
Colorado makes the grade when it come to campaign finances.

The National Institute on Money in State Politics gave Colorado an “A” for its campaign finance transparency.

The state received a score of 92.5 — the national average was 77 points — on its practices dealing with direct contributions to candidates, parties and ballot measure committees.

“We worked very hard in Colorado to develop a transparent campaign finance disclosure program,” said Steve Bouey, campaign finance program manager for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. “We’re continuously striving to leverage technology and other tools to make it easy for citizens to access this important information.

“It’s great to get recognition from a nationally recognized and respected source.”

The Institute released its annual report this week on its website, followthemoney.org.

“Although a handful of states received very high marks, the ‘C’ national average highlights the need for improvements to be made in the vast majority of states in order to ensure the public has timely access to thorough information about who is funding state campaigns,” the Institute wrote in the report it released this week.

The Institute’s scoring methodology is based on a set of criteria measuring the disclosure of contributor information, the timeliness and quality of campaign finance data, and public access to the data.

A researcher with the Institute noted about Colorado that “improvements in scores for some questions would require legislative action, and some are subject to budgetary or technological restrictions outside of an agency’s control.”

Maine scored the highest with 100, while Mississippi was the lowest with 37.5 points.

 

Colorado Nonprofit Association honors those who help make their communities better

Lobbyist Ruth Aponte, Christine Marquez-Hudson, the president and CEO of The Denver Foundation, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and lobbyist Edie Busam at the Colorado Nonprofit Association's awards lunch today.
Lobbyist Ruth Aponte, Christine Marquez-Hudson, the president and CEO of The Denver Foundation, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and lobbyist Edie Busam at the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s awards lunch today.

Bill Hana, a fixture at the state Capitol for years, received a standing ovation today when he was awarded the Public Service Lifetime Achievement award from the Colorado Nonprofit Association at its annual awards gala.

Bill Hanna was the recipient today of the Colorado Nonprofit Association's Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bill Hanna was the recipient today of the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gov. John Hickenlooper presented the award to Hanna, who is crediting with helping “shape the public service, nonprofit and political landscape of Colorado since his arrival in 1971.” Hanna was well known for his legislative work for the state Department of Human Services and now is the legislative liaison for the United Veterans Committee.

Hanna was one of several award recipients today at the lunch, which was held at the Denver Marriott City Center as part of Colorado Nonprofit Association Week. Renny Fagan, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, kicked off the event by noting the the impact of nonprofit organizations on the state.

Renny Fagan, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, and Sen. John Kefalas, who along with Sen. Kent Lambert, were honored as Lawmakers of the Year.
Renny Fagan, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, and Sen. John Kefalas, who along with Sen. Kent Lambert, were honored as Lawmakers of the Year.

Sens. John Kefalas, a Fort Collins Democrat, and Kent Lambert, a Colorado Springs Republican, received the Legislator of the Year awards from the group.

Lydia McCoy, board chairwoman of the Colorado Nonprofit Association and executive director of Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation, compared their work to the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

She said sometimes the constant fundraising and other duties can be overwhelming, but think of what Colorado would be like if nonprofit groups were not there to help out their communities.

Read moreColorado Nonprofit Association honors those who help make their communities better

Medal of Honor recipient inspires at Healing Our Heroes event

Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser and Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry at the Healing our Heroes gala Friday in Denver. Petry was the keynote speaker.
Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser and Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry at the Healing our Heroes gala Friday in Denver. Petry was the keynote speaker.

For the second time in my life, I’ve shaken the hand of a Medal of Honor recipient.

The first time was in the early 1980s when I worked for The Gallup Independent in Gallup, N.M., and got to know Heroshi Miyamura. The Gallup native, known as “Hershey,” in 1951 in Korea killed more than 50 enemy soldiers, including hand-to-hand fighting with a bayonet, while ordering his men to fall back.

Hershey Miyamura.
Hershey Miyamura.

The next time was at the Healing our Heroes luncheon Friday in Denver when I met former Army Ranger Leroy Petry, who also is a New Mexico native. I didn’t realize until I went to shake his hand that he lost his right one while throwing a live grenade away from his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan in 2008.

Petry served as the keynote speaker for the Healing our Heroes gala, which raised money to help injured veterans receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

“I thank God every morning that I’m here,” Petry said. “So many paid the ultimate price or suffered horrific injuries.”

Read moreMedal of Honor recipient inspires at Healing Our Heroes event

Pueblo County Clerk Bo Ortiz lauds new voting system

The Pueblo County clerk and recorder's election crew: front row, left to right: Brandi Marquez, Joanne Romero, Theresa Urenda, Rosita Gonzales and Jennifer Sek; and back row, left to right: Tammi Pando, Stefani Wilson, Colorado Secretary Wayne Williams, Clerk Bo Ortiz and Daisy Jensen.
The Pueblo County clerk and recorder’s election crew: front row, left to right: Brandi Marquez, Joanne Romero, Theresa Urenda, Rosita Gonzales and Jennifer Sek; and back row, left to right: Tammi Pando, Stefani Wilson, Colorado Secretary Wayne Williams, Clerk Bo Ortiz and Daisy Jensen.

Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz celebrated the arrival of new voting equipment Monday that he said is saving taxpayers money.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and members of the media also were on hand as scanners and election servers from Dominion Voting Systems were unpacked.

Ortiz told reporter Andy Koen of KOAA5 in Colorado Springs said the cost savings with Dominion was substantial.

“We’re paying … just under $140,000 for the new system where in the past you were, you know, counties were paying a million dollars or more,” he said.

Read morePueblo County Clerk Bo Ortiz lauds new voting system