Anchors A-Wayne! Secretary Williams finishes naval submarine chapter

The USS Colorado officially joined the fleet today in a ceremony in Connecticut attended by Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and other Coloradans.

Four years ago, Colorado’s new secretary of state, Wayne Williams, headed to Rhode Island to participate in a ceremony marking the official start of construction on the USS Colorado.

On Saturday the submarine officially joined the U.S. fleet in a ceremony attended by Williams, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the state’s two U.S. senators, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and others.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and his wife Janet, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne of Colorado Springs at today’s naval ceremony in Connecticut.

“It’s exciting to know that Colorado’s name and our values will be carried around the world by such a magnificent submarine,” Williams said.

Sen. Bennet shared that sentiment.

“For decades, people will see her come and go and say ‘There goes the Colorado.’ And I think that’s wonderful,” he told The Denver Post.

Colorado Politics posted a video of the event with a story that began “Colorado has its Broncos, its Rocky Mountains and its Olympic stars. Saturday morning it officially added a $2.7 billion nuclear attack submarine.”

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Inspire Colorado’s work with high school students inspires donors

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams speaks at a fundraiser Monday for Inspire Colorado, a nonpartisan group that encourages high students to register to vote and get involved. To his left, in blue, is Donalyn White with Inspire Colorado and to her right, in a white shirt, is Bob Meinzer, a board member with the national Inspire group. (SOS photo)

Twitter is filled with suggestions about motivating young people to vote this year, but the Centennial State is way ahead of that idea, thanks to Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Inspire Colorado.

Over the last three years, Inspire Colorado has worked with schools across the state in a student-led movement to register classmates to vote or get those already registered to pledge to vote. So far Inspire Colorado has signed up more than 7,000 students.

Williams — who got his start in politics in high school — believes it is so important for young people to be involved he established the Eliza Pickrell Routt Award, which the offices hands out to high schools where more than 85 percent of the senior class has registered to vote.

Roxane White, former chief of staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose daughter Donalyn White organized the fundraiser for Inspire Colorado. (SOS photo)

“We would not be where we are today in the state of Colorado without the wonderful support of the Secretary of State’s office and Secretary Williams,” said Ryan Drysdale, regional manager for Inspire Colorado.

Drysdale, Williams and Roxane White, the former chief of staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper, were among the speakers at a fundraiser Monday night in Denver to benefit Inspire Colorado, a nonpartisan organization that works with students, teachers and school administrators to talk to classes about the importance of civic engagement.

“I have to say that Inspire Colorado has become my top charity,” White said. “I’m concerned about the growing inequality in America and the growing anger in America and the feeling that we can’t make a difference.”

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U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s son Thatcher steals the show — again

U.S. Sen. Cory and his wife, Jaime, and their children Thatcher, 5, Caitlyn, 2, and Alyson, 13, at the San Luis Valley Lincoln Day Dinner in Alamosa Saturday night. (SOS)

Once again, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s son has upstaged him, this time at the San Luis Valley Lincoln Day Dinner in Alamosa Saturday night.

Two years ago, Thatcher Gardner stole the show from state Senate President Bill Cadman at the Colorado Republican Party’s Centennial Dinner in the metro area. Thatcher was 3 at the time when he kept mimicking Cadman; he’s now 5 as he was happy to remind his dad.

Thatcher Gardner proudly displays where his tooth used to be. (SOS)

Gardner, the featured speaker at the dinner, was telling the crowd about when his son had worked on a school project that asked for favorite color and such. Thatcher, who was seated at the head table, was intent on his computer game.

“I think he was 4 at the time,” Gardner said.

“I’m 5,” Thatcher said, without looking up.

It was the second time the boy addressed the dinner.

The first time was when Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams spoke, after being introduced by Alamosa County Commissioner  Darius Allen, who praised Williams. Allen said when Williams served on the El Paso County Board of Commissioners he looked out for small, rural counties and was the commissioners’ go-to-guy on transportation. Williams talked about elections — and transportation.

“I didn’t care what affiliation the road was when it had a pothole in it,” Williams said, resulting in a big “Ha!” from Thatcher that drew a laugh from the crowd.

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Wayne Williams in Washington: senators, space & secretaries of state

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, visits Wednesday with Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, at Bennet’s office in D.C. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams participated in a variety of events today, including a visit with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, as the National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference kicked off in Washington, D.C.

Williams, who is NASS’ vice president for the Western region, was part of a panel mentoring secretaries of state elected in November. Williams has been paired  with Maggie Toulouse Oliver of New Mexico.

Williams on Friday will participate in a NASS panel looking at voter trust and confidence in elections.

“It is always good to meet with my counterparts across the nation to share ‘lessons learned,’ particularly after the closely watched 2016 presidential election,” Williams said.

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Innovation in bellwether Larimer County

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with the Larimer County clerk and board of commissioners during a visit to Fort Collins last week. They are, left to right, Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Lew Gaiter, Williams, Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers and Commissioner Steve Johnson. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with the Larimer County clerk and board of commissioners during a visit to Fort Collins last week. They are, left to right, Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Lew Gaiter, Secretary Williams, Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers and Commissioner Steve Johnson. (SOS photo)

When Wayne Williams was elected El Paso County clerk and recorder in 2010, he visited the clerks in Larimer and Weld counties before he took office.

At the time, Williams was a county commissioner and had heard from the Larimer and Weld commissioners and their residents “about the quality of their clerks and the operations they ran,” he said.

Williams, now the secretary of state, returned to the Larimer County clerk’s office in Fort Collins last week as part of his goal to meet with clerks statewide to see what issues they face and how his office can help.

“We spoke about the quality of support from the secretary of state and his office,” Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers said. “It definitely feels like a partnership, and that is for the good of the entire state.”

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