West Virginia secretary of state ties one on for benefit of Wayne Williams

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (WVA photo) )

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner showed up at the National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference  Friday with clothing aimed at Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

“See this?” Warner asked, as he proudly showed off his green tie with the “M” logo for Marshall University.

Marshall’s Thundering Herd defeated the Colorado State Rams 31-28 in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque last December.

The two secretaries of state waged a friendly bet beforehand: Each would make a $50 donation to a local food bank in the name of the winning team.

“Just make that check out in honor of Marshall Thundering Herd. Send photos — you’ll be a hero in Huntington,” Warner texted Williams afterward. “Then, even you can say, ‘We are all MARSHALL!’”

So Williams got a tiny taste of his own medicine. Two years ago at NASS’ winter conference in D.C., Williams showed up in a Denver Broncos T-shirt, fresh from watching the Super Bowl parade right outside his office in Denver. He wore some kind of Broncos paraphernalia for three straight days.

The secretary of state who had to grin and bear it was North Carolina’s Elaine Marshall. She and Williams also had made a food-bank wager.

Happy Trails to our own Lynn Waring

Colorado Secretary of State staffers Cheryl Hodges and D.J. Davis and retiring employee Lynn Waring, which was flown over the Capitol in her honor. (SOS photo)

Lynn Waring has wowed colleagues at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office with her Halloween costumes so it came as a bit of surprise that she picked Friday to retire, just weeks away from impressing co-workers with another fun ensemble.

There was the tea bag, the web site, the melted crayon.

But Waring is going to miss something else, too — what could be metro Denver’s first snowstorm on Monday.

“It’s probably the first time I’ve heard the weather report and not panicked and thought, ‘Oh, dear,” Waring said today.

Waring began at the Secretary of State’s office in 2011, and for the past two years has handled bingo-and-raffle reports. She previously worked for Boulder County, including a stint as chief deputy to the public trustee, Sandy Hume.

Colorado Secretary of State employee Lynn Waring’s costume one Halloween.

The Secretary of State’s office today feted Waring with cake, cookies, a $100 gift card, a  retirement letter from Gov. John Hickenlooper and a flag flown over the Capitol.

Many wondered what the office was going to be like without Waring, who was known to slip a breakfast bar or some other treat on her co-workers’ desks. I’m sad to see her go. She reminded me of a milder version of Pat Worley, the former legislative staffer aide who made the state House such a fun place to work.

Waring could be counted on to remind her colleagues of some activity hosted by Employee Relations Committee, of which she was a member.

The committee helped collect donations and gift cards for the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office during unprecedented flooding in Baton Rogue, and items for the Colorado Food Bank as part of a Super Bowl bet with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office. Waring donned a chef’s hat when she and other members flipped pancakes for the all-you-can-eat employee breakfasts.

Waring was especially known for arranging the tours and treats for Take Your Kids to work day, where she loved to introduce her two grandkids.

Members of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Employee Relations Committee, along with businessman Rick Enstrom and Secretary of Wayne Williams. The committee helped 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. (SOS photo)

Waring and her husband, Russ, a surveyor, plan to sell their home in Arvada and move to their home in Estes Park, where they have loved spending weekends and holidays. She refers to him as “The Professor” because he taught “Surveyor 101” for 15 years at Arapahoe Community College.

The Professor was known to help out now and then, such as delivering pies to serve on Pi Day.

Members of the Employee Relations Committee, including Abbas Montoya, said Waring will be missed.

“Lynn’s enthusiasm was infectious,” he said, “and she made us all excited to do things, like Pi Day.”

Secretaries of state learn about messaging in the Big Easy

Secretaries of state attending a workshop in New Orelans take a selfie in Jackson Square on Thursday. In the back, second to left, is Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is holding the camera.
Secretaries of state attending a workshop in Louisiana take a selfie in Jackson Square on Thursday. In the back, second to left, is Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is holding the camera. (SOS photo)

Secretaries of state — including Colorado’s Wayne Williams — and communication staffers from 20 different SOS offices are in New Orleans for a two-day “connect & collaborate” conference.

Among the presenters at the event: Twitter and Facebook officials who provided invaluable tips for how secretaries of state can get out their message on voter registration and other issues — and have a little fun.

The workshop was put on by the National Association of Secretaries of State and hosted by Louisiana SOS Tom Schedler and his staff. NASS’ Kay Stimson led the workshop “Negative Publicity & Hostile Reporters.” I chuckled when I read the title. We’ve had some of the first, very little of the latter.

Read moreSecretaries of state learn about messaging in the Big Easy

Arapahoe County GOP piggybacks on Secretary Wayne Williams’ food bank bet

Arapahoe County elections deputy Jennifer Morell and Clerk and Recorder Matt Crane with food their office donated as part of the Colorado Secretary of State's Super Bowl bet.
Arapahoe County elections deputy Jennifer Morell and Clerk and Recorder Matt Crane with food their office donated as part of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Super Bowl bet.

Arapahoe County Republicans are borrowing a page from Secretary of State Wayne Williams and will participate in a food drive at their county assembly on March 19.

County chairwoman Joy Hoffman said she was inspired by the Super Bowl bet between Williams and North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. Both secretary of state offices collected goods for their respective food banks, Food Bank of the Rockies and Food Bank of Central and Eastern Carolina.

Because the Broncos were victorious, the goods to both food banks were donated in the name of the Denver Broncos.

The bet garnered plenty of national attention and praise. “We could all win this bet,” read the headline in a North Carolina paper.

“Wayne certainly kicked off the idea in my mind,” Hoffman said. “It was such a positive idea.”

Also collecting food on behalf of the Colorado Secretary of State’s office was Enstrom Candies, the Denver clerk and recorder and elections division and the Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

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