Kurt Morrison hits the road

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Kurt Morrison, who is leaving the Hickenlooper administration, ran into each other this week at The Avenue Grill. (SOS photo)

I’ve been teased about some tweets before, like when I wished Colorado happy birthday but had the age wrong, but nothing beats Gov. John Hickenlooper’s holiday party when I took a picture of Secretary of State Wayne Williams and the gov’s legislative director, Kurt Morrison.

I called them trans buddies, which generated plenty of frantic texts to me. I was simply referring to transportation, I replied. The secretary and the director have worked on road stuff together.

Morrison’s announcement that he is leaving the administration this month revived memories of that incident. I wondered whether I had a picture of him and a co-worker brought up the trans buddies tweet.

But talk about fate. The secretary and I ran into Morrison this week.

Read moreKurt Morrison hits the road

Colorado’s county treasurers and their taxing problem with the press

County treasurers Brita Horn of Routt County, Irene Josey of Larimer County and Paul Weissmann of Boulder County at the treasurers' association meeting today in Fort Collins. (SOS photo)
County treasurers Brita Horn of Routt County, Irene Josey of Larimer County and Paul Weissmann of Boulder County at the treasurers’ association meeting today in Fort Collins. (SOS photo)

As somebody who spent 35 years as a journalist, it’s painful to hear a litany of elected state treasurers describe their problems with the press over the years. Misquotes. Bias. And even having their letters to the editors changed.

Still, it was a privilege to address the Colorado County Treasurers’ Association and the Public Trustee Association of Colorado today at their conference in Fort Collins. And a relief to know that sometimes county commissioners also can be difficult to deal with. (That’s a joke. My boss used to be a commissioner.)

Appearing on the media panel with me were Nick Coltrain, a reporter with the Fort Collins Coloradoan, and Keagan Harsha, a reporter and anchor for Fox31.  The topic: “What you can’t — or think you can’t — control.”

Some of our advice: Turn to social media when needed, assume you’re being tape recorded and don’t duck the press even if you can’t give much of a statement. And try to repair relationships with reporters. It will benefit you in the long run.

Read moreColorado’s county treasurers and their taxing problem with the press

New election commission to study possible fixes to Colorado laws, constitution

Martha Tierney, attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party, and Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, serve on a new Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission formed by Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)
Martha Tierney, attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party, and Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, serve on a new Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission formed by Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

Two proposed ballot measures dealing with primary elections and a presidential primary will drive up costs for counties to run elections.

Language concerning recall elections added to Colorado’s constitution in 1913 conflicts with current federal and state law.

And what about signature verification for candidate and initiative petitions?

Those topics were discussed Friday during the inaugural meeting of the Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission created by Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with support from legislators and others concerned with elections.

“We had a great first meeting, discussing ways we can make the election process better in Colorado, and I appreciate the time and input from the state’s leaders who joined us,” Williams said.

He sought input from Gov. John Hickenlooper, legislative leaders from both parties and others about who should serve on the commission. The goal is to come up with solutions to fix election problems identified by Williams, his staff and others.

Read moreNew election commission to study possible fixes to Colorado laws, constitution

Secretary Williams touts one-time rival, Joe Neguse, for cabinet post

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams presents his one-time campaign rival, Joe Neguse, for confirmation as head of the Department of Regulatory Agencies before a Senate committee Wednesday.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams presents his one-time campaign rival, Joe Neguse, for confirmation as head of the Department of Regulatory Agencies before a Senate committee Wednesday.

They campaigned against each other for secretary of state, but on Wednesday Republican Wayne Williams and Democrat Joe Neguse sat side by side in a Senate confirmation hearing, praising each other.

Williams, who beat Neguse by 2.2 percentage points, took office in January 2015. Gov. John Hickenlooper last spring appointed Neguse to head the Department of Regulatory Agencies, better known as DORA. The post requires Senate confirmation, which is why Neguse appeared before the state Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.

Neguse sailed through the hearing after Williams and members of the Republican-controlled committee praised his performance. Neguse’s confirmation now goes before the full Senate where it has been deemed such a sure thing it was put on what is called the consent calendar, where all 35 senators are expected to be “yes” votes.

“Politics often sounds nasty,” Williams said, referring to the recent Iowa caucus.

“And that’s a different level of dialogue than Americans and Coloradans really want and I am here as kind  of a testament that you can run a campaign without wallowing in the mud or engaging in rancor.  Joe and I had the opportunity to both run for secretary of state for more than a year and as we went across the state and showed up at different forums. There were some things we disagreed on but there were also a lot of things we agreed on. And we did throughout the campaign keep it civil.”

Read moreSecretary Williams touts one-time rival, Joe Neguse, for cabinet post

Welcome to Broomfield and the world, Theodore James Gray

Democrat Matt Gray, his 2-year-old daughter, Ellie, and his newborn son, Theo.
Democrat Matt Gray, his 2-year-old daughter, Ellie, and his newborn son, Theo.

Dang it, Matt Gray, hours after I had finally written a blog about the latest political babies his son decided to make his debut.

Theodore James Gray, known as Theo, was born at 5:15 p.m. Friday.

When I lamented to Gray about his timing, he fired back with one of his perfect responses: “I asked Kaiser if we could induce early for that reason but they said no.”

Gray, an attorney,  is the former chair of the Broomfield County Democratic Party, and a candidate for state House in 2016. He is running for the seat now held by Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield.

He also was one of three pro bono copy editors when I wrote for The Denver Post’s political blog, The Spot. Either he, or state Sen. Chris Holbert (the son of a newspaper man) or  Jack Wylie, a former state Senate spokesman turned legislative director for a state agency, would regularly send me e-mails.  You’re missing a word. You have an extra word. I think you meant this or that.  The tips came at all hours of the day and night and I will forever be grateful for their help.

Theo Gray.
Theo Gray.

About Theo. He was born at Good Samaritan in Lafayette. Vital stats:  7 pounds, 4 ounces and 21 inches.

“Good Samaritan is also where his 2-year-old sister Ellie was born and is across the street from the Gatehouse, where Katie and I got married in 2006,” Gray said, in an e-mail.

“When Ellie came to the hospital to visit after the birth, I hadn’t seen her in almost 24 hours but as soon as she saw me in the hallway instead of saying ‘hello’ or wanting a hug, the first thing she said was ‘Where’s Theo?'”

Also welcoming babies this month are former state Sen. Josh Penry and his wife, Kristin Strohm, a political consultant. They’re hoping to bring their twin daughters home by Christmas.

Irony: Jack Wylie e-mailed me to say I had misspelled his name in the blog.