From Telemundo to a town hall, Secretary Williams on the go

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams stands with volunteers answering election questions during a phone bank at Telemundo on Thursday. They are, left to right, Ben Schler with the SOS; John Shoch; his daughter, Gloria Shoch and Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Adams County. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talked elections Thursday night in two appearances, first at Telemundo and then at a town hall with Sen. Angela Williams at Manual High School in Denver.

The interview at Telemundo, an American Spanish-language television network, focused on Tuesday’s coordinated election. Most but not all of Colorado voters are deciding on contests in their districts, from tax questions to school board races and municipal contests.

In addition, the Secretary of State’s office participated in a phone bank, handling election questions from viewers.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and state Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, at a town hall Nov. 2. (SOS photo)

The conversation at Sen. Williams’ town hall concerned business operations at the office and elections, followed by a question-and-answer period.

Among the participants were Denver residents Pat Manning and Ruben Espinosa.

Secretary Williams  talked about the ballot measure voters approved last year that allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without declaring to be a Republican or a Democrat. That means unaffiliated voters will receive both a Democrat and Republican ballot mailed to them for the June 2018 primary, but they can return only one ballot.

Already, there is plenty of interest in Colorado’s crowded open governor’s race and other contests.

“Angela and I, by the way, are two of the people in the state not running for governor,” the secretary of state said to laughter.

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Black politicians honored at lunch

Rep. Angela Williams addresses the Colorado Black women for Political Action lunch Oct. 9 in Denver. With her are, left to right, Rep. Janet Buckner, Leslie Herod, Rep. Rhonda Fields and Dominique Jackson. (Williams photo)
Rep. Angela Williams addresses the Colorado Black women for Political Action lunch Oct. 9 in Denver. With her are, left to right, Rep. Janet Buckner, Leslie Herod, Rep. Rhonda Fields and Dominique Jackson. (Williams photo)

At one point it looked like the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 was going to be without a black lawmaker for the first time in decades, but now there is talk there could be as many as eight when the 2017 session convenes in January.

Rep. Angela Williams of Denver outlined the history of blacks in the Colorado General Assembly when she addressed the Colorado Black Women for Political Action lunch on Oct. 9. The event attracted men and women of all colors and political persuasions.

Gloria Tanner, the first African American woman to serve in the Colorado Senate, at the lunch. (SOS photo)
Gloria Tanner, the first African American woman to serve in the Colorado Senate, at the lunch. (SOS photo)

“It took the state 96 years to elect its first African-American female legislator who served in the House of Representatives, the Honorable Arie Taylor of Denver,” Williams said. “As for the Senate, it took this state 118 years to elect its first African-American female senator, the Honorable Gloria Tanner.”

In addition, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock noted although the black population never exceeded more than 5 percent of the state population, it elected three blacks to statewide office: Lt. Govs. George Brown and Joe Rogers, and Secretary of State Vikki Buckley.

Same in Denver, he said, where the black population never exceeded 12 percent but he and Wellingon Webb were elected mayor and Stephanie O’Malley was elected clerk.

“I’m proud to be here as Denver’s 45th mayor to talk about the importance of the Colorado Black Women for Political Action, the first voices we seek before we place our name on that ballot, and the first favoritism we ask for the honor to serve,” Hancock said.

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Eat, drink and be merry, courtesy of the Colorado Restaurant Association

Senate President Bill Cadman, a Colorado Springs Republican, and House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, a Denver Democrat, at the Colorado Restaurant Association's Blue Ribbon Reception Wednesday night.
Senate President Bill Cadman, a Colorado Springs Republican, and House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, a Denver Democrat, at the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Blue Ribbon Reception Wednesday night.

The Colorado Restaurant Association hosts one of the best legislative receptions of the year, held opening night when lawmakers are filled with optimism and still humming “Kumbaya.”

“This is a great tradition at the Colorado General Assembly,” said House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, a Boulder Democrat.

“It’s a wonderful gathering. We’re all very excited about starting a new session and it’s always a good time to talk and have a drink with our friends on the other side of the aisle.”

The session opened Wednesday and by law must adjourn in May. The reception was held at the Colorado History Museum.

The Colorado Restaurant Association uses the event to inform lawmakers and reporters about the importance of their industry to state coffers. A variety of restaurants offered small plate samples of tacos, salmon and more.

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