Lakewood High students meet Secretary Wayne Williams, U.S. senators

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Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and students from Lakewood High School. They met in line outside the Russell Building this morning in Washington D.C. and learned they were all headed to meet Colorado’s two U.S. senators.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams turned the annoyance of being trapped in a slow-moving security line outside the Russell Building into something fun this morning when he realized the students standing in front of him were from Lakewood High School.

Yes, that Lakewood High School, where the Tigers lip-synced to Katy Perry’s famous “Roar.”

Angie Clexton, a staffer for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams listen to Lakewood High School students talk to Bennet. Claxton is a 2009 graduate of LHS.
Angie Clexton, a staffer for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams listen to Lakewood High School students talk to Bennet. Clexton is a 2009 graduate of LHS.

Williams was headed to see Colorado’s U.S. senators, Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Cory Gardner, a Republican. It turns out that Lakewood High School teacher Katie Seelbach and her AP U.S. history and government classes were also there to see the pair.

And because the school is in Jefferson County, the students also had an appointment to visit Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada. (Williams stopped by all seven congressional offices Tuesday night but most of the lawmakers were on the House floor getting ready for a vote; the ones he did see were sprinting off to join them.)

The students talked with  Bennet about a variety of topics, from immigration to education to college tuition. They were excited to be in D.C. and to be talking with members of their delegation.

When Bennet asked if the students knew what a secretary of state does, there were some interesting answers, from foreign policy to overseeing interstate compacts. The secretary of state actually oversees elections, business registrations, charitable giving and more.

Colorado of State Wayne Williams, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet meet with students from Lakewood High School Wednesday.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet meet with students from Lakewood High School Wednesday. To the right in the front row is their teacher, Katie Seelbach.

 

Secretary of State Wayne Williams proves you can go home again

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams makes the front page.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams makes the front page.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne William often tells the story of how there was no high school graduating class of 1959 in the Virginia town where he got his political start. That’s because elected officials closed it rather than integrate it.

Williams on Wednesday night returns to the Shenandoah Valley as the keynote speaker for the Warren County Lincoln Day Dinner. He is fitting in the speaking engagement while attending the National Association of Secretaries of State.

He learned the town’s history when he moved to Front Royal, where he was elected student body vice president the spring after he arrived and student body president a year later. The Warren County High School yearbook features a picture of Williams, who graduated in 1981, wearing a Reagan/Bush button.

Wayne Williams in high school.
Wayne Williams in high school.

Williams last month brought up Warren County, Va., when he spoke to the Lincoln Club of Denver.

He said the county was dominated by Democrats and hadn’t made a lot of progress, although it had since allowed minorities to attend public schools. He volunteered for Republicans running for county supervisor.

“I helped organize about 70 kids and we stood outside of every polling place on Election Day and passed out literature. Most of us couldn’t vote — we weren’t old enough,” Williams recalled. “But we changed that county.”

Wayne Williams was president of the Young Republicans while getting his law degree at the University of Virginia.
Wayne Williams was president of the Young Republicans while getting his law degree at the University of Virginia.

Williams success in GOP politics continued. He was elected chairman of the El Paso County Republican Party six years after moving to Colorado Springs. In his first race for county commissioner, conventional wisdom said he would get trounced in the primary. Williams served two terms on the commission, and then one term as El Paso County clerk and recorder before Coloradans elected him secretary of state in 2014.

Williams talked to the Warren Sentinel about his political journey and why he brings up his high school experiences.

“I use that as secretary of state, talking about how important it is to be involved and how you can make a difference, because we were a bunch of kids and we helped to change county government without even having the ability to vote,” he said.

Secretary Wayne Williams’ Denver Broncos shirt elicits cheers in D.C.

Congressman Ken Buck, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Buck chief of staff Mac Zimmerman at Buck's DC office on Tuesday. His staff let out a cheer when they saw Williams' T-shirt.
Congressman Ken Buck, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Buck chief of staff Mac Zimmerman at Buck’s D.C. office on Tuesday. Buck’s staff let out a cheer when they saw Williams’ T-shirt.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, right, and his wife Jeanne, had some fun when they saw fellow Colorado Springs Republican Wayne Williams sporting a Denver Broncos championship shirt.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, right, and his wife Jeanie had some fun when they saw fellow Colorado Springs Republican Wayne Williams sporting a Denver Broncos championship shirt.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams missed today’s Super Bowl parade in Denver, but he got a warm welcome in Washington, D.C., with his Denver Broncos championship T-shirt.

The parade route went right by Williams’ office at 1700 Broadway — he captured a good picture of the orange- and blue-stripe painted on the street for his Facebook page — but he was headed to Washington for the National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference.

After he landed, Williams stopped by all seven congressional offices. In most cases, the representatives had had already headed to the floor for a nighttime vote, but the secretary did manage to catch up with two lawmakers, Republican Ken Buck of Windsor and Republican Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs.

Williams also had a chance to meet Buck’s new chief of staff, Mac Zimmerman, on his first day on the job. Zimmerman grew up in Denver but has lived in Grand Junction and previously worked for Congressmen Scott McInnis and Tom Tancredo, and for state Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry.

Zimmerman once worked with Buck’s previous chief of staff, former state Sen. Greg Brophy.

Miles, mascot of the Denver Broncos, enjoys today's Super Bowl parade in Denver.
Miles, mascot of the Denver Broncos, enjoys today’s Super Bowl parade in Denver.

Denver Broncos: a season full of twists, turns and an amazing conclusion. Sound familiar?

The Denver Broncos celebrate their victory over the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game Sunday Jan. 14, sending them to the Super Bowl. From left to right are No. 92 Sylvester Williams, No. 16 Bernie Fowler and No. 23 Ronnie Hillamn. Photo by Evan Semón for CBS4/Special to the Colorado Secretary of State)
The Denver Broncos celebrate their victory over the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game Sunday Jan. 14, sending them to Super Bowl 50. From left to right are No. 92 Sylvester Williams, No. 23 Ronnie Hillman and No. 16 Bernie Fowler. (Photo by Evan Semón for CBS4/Special to the Colorado Secretary of State)

“I’ll never forget Elway with the guys carrying him on their shoulders and all the confetti. He was crying. That was about the point it hit me.”

One of my favorite stories about the Denver Broncos’ first Super Bowl win in 1998 was written a decade later, looking back at the wild run that  ended with a victory over the Green Bay Packers.

In 2007, wide receiver Rod Smith compared the 1997 season to recess.

“You go to school in the morning and they ring the bell for recess and then they didn’t ring the second bell for you to go in,” he said at the time. “I swear, the whole year was like recess.”

The Broncos play in their eighth Super Bowl Sunday, taking on the Carolina Panthers. Here’s hoping that in 2025, there’s a story written about this magical season and how the Broncos won their third Super Bowl.

And let’s not forget how a Super Bowl bet this year between Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall benefited the hungry.

Here’s the 10-year anniversary story, which appeared on Sept. 5, 2007:

Read moreDenver Broncos: a season full of twists, turns and an amazing conclusion. Sound familiar?

Secretary of State Wayne Williams unloads 674 pounds of food as part of Super Bowl bet

Rick Enstrom of Enstrom Candies and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Food Bank of the Rockies this morning with the 674 pounds of food donated by the candy company. It's part of a Super Bowl wager between Williams and North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.
Rick Enstrom of Enstrom Candies and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Food Bank of the Rockies this morning with the 674 pounds of food donated by the candy company. It’s part of a Super Bowl wager between Williams and North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ bet that the Denver Broncos will beat the Carolina Panthers in Sunday’s Super Bowl netted in 674 pounds of groceries being dropped off this morning at Food Bank of the Rockies.

And more food is coming.

Today’s food was donated by by Enstrom Candies, who got in on the secretary’s bet. In addition to tuna, peanut butter and cans of sweet corn, the company contributed some of its famous toffee — 2,000 individual candy bars to be exact.

“Take that, Carolina Panthers!” Rick Enstrom said, as he and Williams helped unload food from the back of his truck.

Williams and North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall are helping out the hungry with their Super Bowl bet. Each office will collect food to be donated to their respective food banks, Food Bank of the Rockies and Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. The donations will be made in the name of the winning team, which Williams predicts will be the Denver Broncos.

In addition to the secretary of state’s office, Denver Clerk Debra Johnson and Arapahoe Clerk Matt Crane and their staffs also are collecting food items and will add them to the Colorado Secretary of State’s haul.  The donations will be delivered to Food Bank of the Rockies next week.

Members of the Colorado Secretary of State's Human Resources Committee, along with businessman Rick Enstrom and Secretary of Wayne Williams. The committee is helping organize the office's food drive as part of a Super Bowl bet. From left to right: Kristine Reynolds, Cheryl Hodges, Enstrom, Lynn Waring, Secretary Williams, Janet Perry and Abbas Montoya.
Members of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Employee Relations Committee, along with businessman Rick Enstrom and Secretary of Wayne Williams. The committee is helping organize the office’s food drive as part of a Super Bowl bet. From left to right: Kristine Reynolds, Cheryl Hodges, Enstrom, Lynn Waring, Secretary Williams, Janet Perry and Abbas Montoya.