Double the fun for Penry, Strohm; Colorado’s political babies keep arriving

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Josh Penry holding his daughter Caroline, who has a twin sister, Sophie.
Kristin Strohm feeding Caroline.
Kristin Strohm feeding her daughter Caroline. The twins were born Dec. 9 and are still in the hospital.

The list of Colorado politicos turning out babies continues to grow, and Josh Penry and Kristin Strohm are over the moon with their twin girls.

Chase Penry, 13, holds the twins, Sophie and Caroline.
Chase Penry, 13, holds the twins, Sophie and Caroline.

Sophie Valentine and Caroline Quinn were born Dec. 9. Sophie weighed just over 5 pounds, Caroline just under 5 pounds.

Penry is the former Senate minority leader who works for the mega-connected EIS Solutions firm. Strohm is a partner in the Starboard Group, a rising GOP political consulting firm.

“Our doctor told Kristin she was the most beautiful pregnant women since Demi Moore,” Penry said.

However, there are no Vanity Fair style covers of Strohm (unless the Colorado Statesman is planning something I don’t know about.)

It’s been quite the year for babies.

Read moreDouble the fun for Penry, Strohm; Colorado’s political babies keep arriving

Wayne Williams: Colorado secretary of state and good Samaritan

Secretary of State Wayne Williams aids a driver stuck near the Capitol on Wednesday.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams aids a driver stuck near the Capitol on Wednesday.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams jumped into action this week when a snowstorm hit the state, paralyzing traffic and canceling hundreds of flights.

Williams attended an election seminar in Aspen on Monday with other secretaries of state.

When flights out of Aspen were canceled, Williams played chauffer, making sure  three conference participants got to Denver International Airport. Williams braved a challenging commute on Interstate 70 on Tuesday to drop off Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray and former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson at Denver International Airport.

A third secretary of state, Kim Wyman of Washington, spent the night at Williams’ home in Colorado Springs. He then got up in the wee hours to take her to DIA for her flight early Wednesday. She texted him from her seat in the plane at 7:54 a.m.

“Thanks so much for the VIP service last night and this morning! Tell Holly I enjoyed meeting her and appreciated staying in her VERY NEAT AND TIDY home. :-)” she wrote.

Williams later that morning appeared before the Joint Technology Committee at the state Capitol. When he crossed Colfax Avenue to get to his office at 1700 Broadway, he found a driver unable to get out of a snow pile to pull away from the curb. Williams helped push the car free.

“Our mission is to help people and apparently that includes talking people to the airport and pushing them out of a snowbank,” he said, with a laugh.

“I get the right to vote!” new U.S. citizen tells Secretary of State’s office

When Maria Gutilla of Peru became a U.S. citizen on Wednesday, her family showed up to cheer her on. From left to right, Zack Gutilla, 35, holding daughter Mikaela; Zack's wife, Maria, and Secretary Wayne Williams holding their daughter,Cecilia. (Photo by Keara Brosnan/SOS)
When Maria Gutilla of Peru became a U.S. citizen on Wednesday, her family showed up to cheer her on. From left to right, Zack Gutilla, 35, holding daughter Mikaela; Zack’s wife, Maria, and Secretary Wayne Williams holding their daughter,Cecilia. (Photo by Keara Brosnan/SOS)

By Keara Brosnan

Peruvian Marita Gutilla finally gets to call herself an American.

The 31-year-old was one of  56 people from 29 countries — ranging from Nepal to France to Mexico — who officially became citizens of the United States during a naturalization ceremony Wednesday in Centennial.

Citizenship caries many rights as well as responsibilities, which the new Americans said they looking forward to.

“I get all the privileges everyone else has,” said Yulia Aleksandrovna Penny, a 33-year-old Russian native who lives in Highlands Ranch. “I get the right to vote!”

Read more“I get the right to vote!” new U.S. citizen tells Secretary of State’s office

R.I.P. Lewis — you were loved at the Colorado Capitol and at home

Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and her beloved dog, Lewis, who died last week. (Donovan picture)
Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and her beloved dog, Lewis, who died last week. (Donovan picture)

It’s hard to imagine the 2016 legislative session without Lewis, the beloved dog who loved to race down the hall and into the press room to see if someone was there to give him treats.

He ran so fast he would skid on the marble floor when trying to make the turn.

“The dog is going to make somebody fall,” I was admonished over and over again by the Senate sergeants.

Yet, I continued to buy bags of dog treats for the little guy, who won over my heart  on the campaign trail in 2014 when I met him at the Gunnison County Democratic picnic.

Lewis died last week of an enlarged heart. He died on his 8th birthday.

Donovan on Sunday sent a letter to her “Capitol friends” informing them of Lewis’ death. Condolences poured in.

“I am so sad to hear of little Lewis’ passing,” lobbyist Benjamin Waters wrote on his Facebook page. “Sen. Kerry Donovan from Vail kept this wonderful little pup in her office and whenever the days became contentious and long during the 2015 legislative session, this little guy made everyone feel better. RIP Lewis.”

Read moreR.I.P. Lewis — you were loved at the Colorado Capitol and at home

County clerks make their pitch on what voting system Colorado should select

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell prior to a meeting Friday about new voting equipment.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell in his office in Denver prior to a meeting Friday about new voting equipment.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams today thanked the eight counties that served as “guinea pigs” and tested new equipment in the Nov. 3 election — equipment the state is considering selecting before the 2016 presidential election.

“I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to a lot of folks because this has not been an easy project,” Williams said.

He noted that when he was El Paso clerk and recorder, he and former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson served on a committee that looked at moving the state to a universal voting system. When Williams took office in January, he established the Pilot Election Review Committee to look at the issue. The pilot program, he said, was part of a”common sense approach of trying it before buying it.

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner and Denver County Clerk Deb Johnson tested voting machines from Dominion.
Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner and Denver County Clerk Deb Johnson tested voting machines from Dominion.

“I wanted to say thank you to … all the clerks and their staffs who said, ‘Yes, we will be guinea pigs.’ And it was not an easy thing to say, ‘We’re running an election and we’re going to try out completely new stuff  and we’re going to have all these people watching us,'” Williams said.

“It’s important fiscally for the counties that have to make these purchases that we make good selections. (The machines) don’t just serve us today, but serve us in the future as well.”

He also thanked his staff and members of the  Pilot Election Review Committee prior to presentations from county clerks and  their staffs. The county workers all made a pitch for the committee to recommend to the secretary to select the equipment they tested during the election, although they also discussed weakness they spotted and features that need to be improved.

Read moreCounty clerks make their pitch on what voting system Colorado should select