The best to you, Henry Sobanet

“Nobody has done more for Colorado than Henry Sobanet. There should be streets, buildings, and airports named after him. Henry stands as the antithesis of everything politics has sadly become. Though he stood at the helm of our budget, he cared not for money, but for making Colorado a better place.”

Budget director Henry Sobanet, center, and the two governors he worked for, Democrat John Hickenlooper on the left and Republican Bill Owens on the right, in 2015. Sobanet’s last day at the Capitol is today. (Sobanet picture)

The year was 2005 and I was assigned to cover the complicated ballot measures Ref C & D, dealing with taxes and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

I called the governor’s budget director, Henry Sobanet, all hours of the day and night. “Is this correct? What if that happens? Does this mean this?”

These days I’m answering phone calls from reporters.

At closing time recently I posted a Tweet about the ballot rejection rates from unaffiliated voters in two counties. Reporters immediately asked if I had more numbers. “I don’t,” I said,  “but I can call around to the clerks and get some.”

“You would do that on a Friday afternoon?” Megan Verlee of Colorado Public Radio asked.

Yes, because that’s my job.

Sobanet always answered his cell phone. I once had a a fairly lengthy budget conversation with him one Friday night before he finally admitted he was at a party and talking to me from inside someone’s bedroom.

Today is Sobanet’s last day at the state Capitol after serving the state and two governors for 20 years.

Read moreThe best to you, Henry Sobanet

All about U: 2 former journalists

The U from Dan Haley, formerly of the Denver Post and now president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
Former Rocky cartoonist Ed Stein’s U.

Argh. I blew it. This was to publish on Saturday. So pretend it’s Saturday when you read it.

One of the cool things about Colorado Secretary of State’s UChooseCO campaign is seeing how the wooden U’s that have been handed out are decorated.  I thought former Rocky Mountain News cartoonist Ed Stein would, well, draw cartoons. I figured former Denver Post editorial page editor Dan Haley might go with a pop culture reference.

I guessed wrong.

The U’s are part of a campaign to inform unaffiliated voters that they can now automatically participate in primary elections without having to affiliate with one party or another.

Unaffiliated voters also are being told DON’T SPOIL IT. They will get two ballots, one for Republican candidates and the other for Democratic candidates, but they can only vote one. If they return both, neither ballot will count.

Ed Stein.
Dan Haley.

We asked those who received the wooden U’s to show off their work on Twitter and other social media venues.

“Luddite that I am I don’t get hashtags (I know, so 20th Century),” Stein wrote.

That’s OK, we promoted it for him.

Haley is known to quote “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and drool over Angie Dickinson in “Police Woman.” He’s such a Broncos fan that Colorado Public Radio featured him in a story about the anniversary of the team’s first trip to the Super Bowl. But Haley, now the president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, instead went with a work theme.

Every day between now and the June 26 primary we will highlight a wooden U or two. Recipients were asked to consider their values when decorating or to just have fun. Some clerks highlighted their counties.

Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.


Denver Press Club: Trying to make sense of the 2016 election

Hosted by the Denver Press Club.
Hosted by the Denver Press Club.

The Denver Press Club is hosting a political “conversation” with veteran consultants Rick Ridder and Sean Duffy, who will try to “make sense of the new campaign paradigm” after Donald Trump’s victory.

Trump says it’s time to move on, but this event from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday Jan. 5 looks to be a don’t miss.  Nathan Heffel, host of Colorado Public Radio’s “Colorado Matters,” will moderate.

Ridder is a Democrat whose new book is “Looking for Votes in All the Wrong Places: Tales and Rules from the Campaign Trail.” (Love the blurb that says “illustrated by entertaining, instructive, and mostly true stories from his own experiences.” Mostly true!) He and his wife Joannie Braden founded RBI Strategies & Research.

Duffy served as deputy chief of staff for former GOP Gov. Bill Owens. Duffy now is president of Shamrock Strategies, a pubic affairs consulting firm.

The Denver Press Club hosted the presidential debates last year, drawing big crowds and visiting overseas journalists.  It’s only fitting that it hosts the look back.


Kris Reynolds to the rescue

Colorado Secretary of State staffers join in for a surprise birthday party for campaign finance guru Kris Reynolds, center, who is seated next to her mother, Sandy Reynolds, right. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State staffers join in Tuesday for a surprise birthday party for campaign finance trainer Kris Reynolds, center, who is seated next to her mother, Sandy Reynolds, right. (SOS photo)

One of the e-mails I received after ending a 35-year-career in journalism to join the Colorado Secretary of State’s office came from Michele Austin, a Republican I met covering the Colorado legislature who advised me, “Get to know Kris.”

She was referring to Kris Reynolds, part of the SOS’ campaign finance team. Ever since I went to work for Secretary Wayne Williams 13 months ago, Kris has been there to hand hold, advise and say sweetly, “It’s OK, Lynn. Campaign finance is complicated.”

And that’s why Kris didn’t suspect a thing when I called her at 3 p.m. today to say, “I’ve got 9News in my office right now and they’re asking campaign finance questions I don’t know how to answer. Can you come help?”

Read moreKris Reynolds to the rescue