A treasure: newspaper clips and more at the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office

A small sampling of the newspaper clips regarding former Secretary of State Mary Estill Buchanan's "furniture caper." (SOS photo)
A sampling of newspaper articles regarding former Secretary of State Mary Estill Buchanan’s “furniture caper” after she left office. (SOS photo)

News clippings from former Secretary of State Mary Estill Buchanan’s “furniture caper.” Scrapbooks from her successor, Natalie Meyer. And an unforgettable feature on Colorado tax zealot Douglas Bruce.

My new intern, Colorado State University student Julia Sunny, and I discovered a treasure trove of items Tuesday when cleaning out my office for a painting-carpeting project this weekend at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. I was told that my predecessor, Rich Coolidge, took two days cleaning out the office when he left last year, but there was still plenty of stuff in the drawers for me to sort through and admire.

Douglas Bruce in 1993 hugs his big ball of string. The photograph accompanied a story on the crotchety architect of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

As someone who spent 35 years working for  newspapers before becoming the spokeswoman for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams last August, I love newspaper clips. Yes, they take up space, but they’re so much fun to pore over.

The 1993 feature on Bruce was written after voters the year before passed his Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. I’ve posted the piece several times in later years after Bruce made news, kicking a photographer on the floor of the Colorado House and a conviction on tax evasion.

But to see the story in print was something else. In the article, Bruce called the then secretary of state a “crook,” the executive branch of state government “pimps,” the state legislature “prostitutes” and anybody else opposed to TABOR as “drones.”

Read moreA treasure: newspaper clips and more at the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office

Jon Keyser’s term limits pledge

The GOP U.S. Senate ballot in the June 28 primary election.
The GOP U.S. Senate ballot in the June 28 primary election.

A phrase under Jon Keyser’s name on the primary ballot for Republican U.S. Senate candidates is causing consternation among some voters.

It reads: “Signed declaration to limit service to no more than 2 terms.”

“Pretty blatant campaigning ON THE BALLOT,” one voter remarked to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

“Electioneering,” one woman complained to the elections staff.

“No,” she was told. “We’re just following the constitution.”

Coloradans in 1998 approved a constitutional amendment allowing candidates who want to choose voluntary congressional term limits to declare so on the ballot and on their election materials.

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Gov. Hickenlooper signs bill dealing with school board race spending

Gov. John HIckenlooper signs House Bill 1282 dealing with school board race campaign spending into law Wednesday afternoon. Among those present, from left to right, Secretary of State staffer Melissa Polk, Steamboat Springs school board member Roger Good, Elena Nunez of Common Cause, former SOS intern Lizzie Stephani, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, Sen. Nancy Todd, SOS staffer Steve Bouey, Sen. Jack Tate, Reps. Brittany Pettersen and KC Becker, SOS staffer Tim Griesmer and Jeffco parent Shawna Fritzler. (SOS photo)
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday signs into law House Bill 1282, which deals with school board race campaign spending. Among those present, from left to right, Secretary of State staffer Melissa Polk, Steamboat Springs school board member Roger Good, Elena Nunez of Common Cause, former SOS intern Lizzie Stephani, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, Sen. Nancy Todd, SOS staffer Steve Bouey, Sen. Jack Tate, Reps. Brittany Pettersen and KC Becker, SOS staffer Tim Griesmer and Jeffco parent Shawna Fritzler. (SOS photo)

A Steamboat Springs school board member frustrated that he couldn’t find out until after an election how much outside groups poured into to elect their favorite board candidates watched Wednesday as Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an accountability bill into law.

Roger Good testified on behalf of House Bill 1282 at a Senate committee hearing — he would have been at the House hearing, too, he said, but he was out of state.

“I wanted to be a voice for rural Colorado,” Good said after the bill signing.

House Bill 1282 bill requires the disclosure of independent expenditures of more than $1,000 within 60 days prior to the election. It also requires disclosure of spending on advertisements, billboards and direct mailings. It does not deal with individual donations to candidates; a bill to limit those contributions died.

Currently, information about independent expenditures in school board races has to be filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office quarterly, including a report on Oct. 15 before the November election. But the next report doesn’t  have to be filed until Jan. 15 of the following year, allowing donations throughout October and early November to be kept quiet until after the election.

That’s why Good got involved.

“Anyone should be able to give whatever they want to any candidate they want, but it’s in the public’s best interest to know who’s giving,” Good told his hometown paper, the Steamboat Springs Pilot & Today, on Wednesday.

Read moreGov. Hickenlooper signs bill dealing with school board race spending

Secretary of State Williams talks elections with Prowers County clerk, residents

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams stands behind the Prowers County clerk and recorder staff. They are, left to right, Elizabeth Hainer, Laurie Downing, Beatrice Romero, Jana Coen (County Clerk), Shauna Millspaugh, Vickie Parker and Dan Monson.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams stands behind the Prowers County clerk and recorder staff. They are, left to right, Elizabeth Hainer, Laurie Downing, Beatrice Romero, Clerk Jana Coen, Shauna Millspaugh, Vickie Parker and Dan Monson.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams met Tuesday with local residents and Prowers County Clerk Jana Coen in the second stop of three town-hall meetings in southeastern Colorado.

“It was good,” Coen said, of the secretary’s visit to Lamar. “He asked if his office was providing the services we need, and I told him they are.”

Williams earlier in the day visited with Baca County residents, and after Lamar he headed to Eads for a town hall meeting in Kiowa County.

Read moreSecretary of State Williams talks elections with Prowers County clerk, residents

Baca County to Secretary Williams: Howdy, partner

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and other elected officials participated in a town hall this morning in Baca County. From left to right: state Sen. Larry Crowder, Assessor Gayla Thompson. Williams, Treasurer Susan Cochell, Sheriff Dave Campbell and County Clerk Sharon Dubois. (Photo by Sarah Steinman, Plains Herald)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and other elected officials participated in a town hall this morning in Baca County. From left to right: state Sen. Larry Crowder, Assessor Gayla Thompson, Williams, Treasurer Susan Cochell, Sheriff Dave Campbell and County Clerk Sharon Dubois. (Photo by Sarah Steinman, Plainsman Herald)

It’s 260 miles from Denver to Baca County in the southeastern most part of the state so you can bet that the citizens there appreciated a visit today from Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

“It was great,” said County Clerk Sharon Dubois. “I introduced Wayne to everyone — of course, it’s Baca County so I knew everyone.”

Williams, other county elected officials and state Sen. Larry Crowder participated in a town hall meeting at the courthouse in Springfield.

Baca — which the locals and longtime Coloradans pronounce Back-uh —  boasts a population of 3,682 people and the towns of Springfield, Walsh, Campo, Prichett, Two Buttes and Vilas. It borders New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas. Baca County is so remote that Dubois said she tells new ministers it probably feels like they’re on a mission.

“We’re closer to Amarillo, Texas, than we are to Pueblo,” she said. “But we’re still Colorado. I just wish they’d quit standing in front of Springfield when they give the weather report.”

Read moreBaca County to Secretary Williams: Howdy, partner