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.

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All about U: Ritter & Stapleton

Olivia Stapleton, the 4-year-old daughter of gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, decorated his U.
Former Gov. Bill Ritter, who now works at his alma mater, Colorado State University, chose school colors.

A former Colorado governor and the state treasurer who wants to move across the hall into the governor’s office joined in a campaign to decorate wooden U’s to highlight the automatic participation of unaffiliated voters in the primary election for the first time in state history.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams is handing out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign, which stresses to unaffiliated voters that they will receive both the Democratic and Republican ballots but they have to pick just one ballot. If they vote two, neither will count.

Every day between now and the June 26 primary we will highlight a 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.

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.

Secretary Williams pays up losing football wager

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Monday made good on his bet to donate $50 to the Food Bank of the Rockies in the name of Marshall University, the West Virginia team that beat Colorado State University in the New Mexico Bowl Saturday. (SOS photo)

Colorado  Secretary of State Wayne Williams happily donated $50 to the Food Bank of the Rockies today, but writing on the receipt that the money came from West Virginia’s Marshall University, now that hurt.

Williams had waged a friendly bet with West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner over the match-up Saturday between the Colorado State University Rams and Marshall’s Thundering Herd.

Warner also donated $50 in the name of Marshall, to the St. Francis School Food Bank that services the local community. School administrators and the choir visited the West Virginia Capitol today as part of their Christmas program, then stopped by Warner’s office for a visit and a photo.

Warner couldn’t resist after the Herd defeated the Rams 31-28 in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque.

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

That’s in reference to the phone call Williams made to Warner after they agreed on the bet. “We are not Marshall,” Williams said, referring to the movie, “We Are Marshall.” “I am confident in the athletes at Colorado State to represent us well. Go Rams!”

Read moreSecretary Williams pays up losing football wager