Secretary Wayne Williams helps honor legendary civil rights attorney

An Alabama attorney whose clients included Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. received a prestigious honor recently, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams couldn’t be happier.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and civil rights legend Fred Gray. (NASS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and civil rights legend Fred Gray. (NASS photo)

Williams voted for attorney Fred Gray of Alabama to receive the National Association of Secretaries of States’ Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award for political courage. Gray was recognized at NASS’ winter conference in Washington D.C. last week for his lifelong service to civil rights.

“I proudly accept this award on behalf of all the clients who, during the last 61 years, trusted me to handle their legal cases. Many resulted in breaking down the walls of segregation and changing the landscape of America — with an impact around the world,” Gray said, according to a NASS news release. “I am pleased to continue to fight for equal justice, until all of God’s children are truly free.”

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Secretary Wayne Williams welcomes new American citizens, talks about the importance of voting

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, listens as third graders from Graland Country Day School sing at today's naturalization ceremony at History Colorado.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, listens as third graders from Graland Country Day School sing at today’s naturalization ceremony at History Colorado.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams welcomed 49 new American citizens from 25 countries today at a naturalization ceremony at History Colorado.

“It’s an exciting day,” Williams told the immigrants, who clutched American flags and beamed for the cameras. “You have an equal right to participate with someone who might have lived here for 93 years. Your participation is what makes this nation different. The people get to make the decisions.”

Read moreSecretary Wayne Williams welcomes new American citizens, talks about the importance of voting

Lakewood High School students see “our government in action”

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, with the Broncos orange and blue tie, meets with Lakewood High School students at his office in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, wearing a Broncos orange and blue tie, meets with Lakewood High School students at his office in Washington, D.C. To the left, bottom row, is teacher Katie Seelbach.

Lakewood High School students who traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of the Close Up  program gave the experience high marks.

The students had appointments to see U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner, a Republican, and Michael Bennet, a Democrat, along with their congressman,  U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Jefferson County. They weren’t planning on meeting Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams but a long security line gave them the chance.

“Meeting with the people who run our government was truly humbling, and our serendipitous meeting with our secretary of state right behind us in line was a great added bonus,” said Kieran Lewis, 15.

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Colorado shares ideas with Wyoming

Hilary Rudy, deputy elections director for the Colorado secretary of state's office, Renea Vitto, president of the Wyoming County Clerks Association and the clerk of Natrona County, and Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers.
Hilary Rudy, deputy elections director for the Colorado secretary of state’s office, Renea Vitto, president of the Wyoming County Clerks Association and the clerk of Natrona County, and Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers.

There aren’t any border wars when it comes to elections, just ask Colorado and Wyoming.

This week, Colorado’s deputy elections director, Hilary Rudy, and Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers met with Renea Vitto,  president of the Wyoming County Clerks Association and the clerk of Natrona County, in Cheyenne.

Wyoming asked to talk with Colorado about how the the state implemented mail ballots and Colorado was glad to oblige.

“It was fun presenting with Angela,” Rudy said. “We loved it when one of the clerks commented on how well we worked together.”

Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray and his wife, Caren.
Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray and his wife, Caren.

Meanwhile, Wyoming’s secretary of state, Ed Murray, is learning new ideas at the National Association of Secretaries of State conference in Washington, D.C. Also in attendance is Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The workshops have included a variety of topics, from elections to notaries to civil technology — where Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortez gave a shout out to Colorado’s awarding-winning app and business challenge, GoCodeColorado.

Murray said he hopes to learn new ideas for communicating with Wyoming voters.

My first tip? “Set up a Twitter account.”

My second tip? Remember whose account you are tweeting from. Yesterday, I retweeted something about a Bernie Sanders rally — from the Colorado Secretary of State’s account, not mine. Crikey!

 

Super Bowl ends on a high note for the hungry, Denver Broncos fans

Secretaries of State Elaine Marshall of North Carolina and Wayne Williams of Colorado got plenty of publicity over their Super Bowl bet to help their local food banks.
Secretaries of State Elaine Marshall of North Carolina and Wayne Williams of Colorado got plenty of publicity over their Super Bowl bet to help their local food banks.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has worn a Denver Broncos shirt three days in a row while in Washington D.C., not to rub it in to his fellow secretaries of state about this year’s Super Bowl champion, oh no, but to express his pride in the team.

He wore one Tuesday and Wednesday and donned Broncos paraphernalia again Thursday because it was the first time he was going to see North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who had wagered a Super Bowl bet with Williams that the Carolina Panthers would prevail in the big game.

The beneficiaries of the bet were the local food banks in North Carolina and Colorado, which each received more than 1,100 pounds of all kinds of food, from peanut butter to mac-and-cheese to tuna.

Williams is attending the National Association of Secretaries of State’s winter conference. He is co-chair of NASS’ Elections Committee and will serve on a panel Friday afternoon on voting issues. (I’m on a media panel the same day.)

Read moreSuper Bowl ends on a high note for the hungry, Denver Broncos fans