Sen. Cory Gardner, “our environmentalist,” addresses CACI

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at a lunch Thursday sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. (Photo courtesy of Evan Semón)
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at a lunch Thursday sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. (Photo courtesy of Evan Semón)

Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner was introduced at a business lunch in Denver on Thursday as “our environmentalist on Capitol Hill” and dang if he didn’t get up and recycle a joke from his 2014 campaign.

Gardner noted that the attack ads aimed at him featured “grainy black-and-white pictures” and seemed to air “every 30 seconds.”

“One of the greatest places you can go to as a Republican in a heated campaign is Cabella’s,” he said, referring to the giant fishing-and-hunting outlet.

Per usual, the line elicited laughter. Gardner talked about customers coming up to him at the Cabella’s in Grand Junction and asking how he was doing. Two men in particular were staring at him. One walked off but the other said, “Hey, hey, are you — ?” and Gardner smiled and said, “Yeah, yeah, I am.”

“So he calls his buddy over and says, ‘Look, it’s Bill Owens!'” Gardner said, referring to a former governor.

The crowd at the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry gathering let out a big laugh, and Gardner then finished off with another line: “So now I go to REI.”

Keith Pearson, chair-elect of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, and Travis Webb, a managing partner at BKD LLP, the new CACI chair, at a lunch Thursday (Photo by Evan Semón)
Keith Pearson, chair-elect of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, and Travis Webb, a managing partner at BKD LLP and the new CACI chair, at a lunch Thursday in Denver. (Photo by Evan Semón)

The crowd also welcomed CACI’s new chairman, Travis Webb, a managing partner at BKD LLP, one of the nation’s largest accounting and advisory firms. The Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry ‘s motto is “We champion a healthy business climate.”

Gardner last year defeated Democrat Mark Udall, becoming the first candidate in 36 years to knock off an incumbent Colorado U.S. senator. He told the crowd that he and Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and the rest of the Colorado delegation — featuring three Democrats and four Republicans — get along better than some delegations that are all members of the same party.

“The Colorado delegation works together better than any other delegation in the country,” Gardner said, adding that helped the state get the funding to finish the beleaguered Veterans Affairs hospital in Aurora.

The senator touched on a variety of topics, including broadband, deregulation, marijuana and banking, trade agreements and aerospace and technology. He got a big round of applause when he said the Senate passed the first long-term transportation bill in more than a decade, particularly after he spelled out what that money means for Colorado. And he talked about the need to bring the economic boom in certain parts of Colorado, such as the Denver metro area, to the rest of the state.

Gardner also joked on the situation in Washington, saying he is the only senator not running for president, and noted the one thing D.C. can agree on is who will not be speaker. He then pointed to CACI’s executive director, former state House Speaker Chuck Berry, and said a petition was circulating to put Berry in the post.

The line about Gardner being an environmentalist drew this response on Twitter from Conservation Colorado: “Interesting.” His environmental record was criticized during the campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

Denver Press Club Hall of Fame adds five new inductees

It’s one thing to be inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame. It’s another to be part of a class of amazing individuals, whose résumés are beyond impressive.

Denver Press Club Hall of Fame 2015
Denver Press Club Hall of Fame 2015

The other members of the 2015 Denver Press Club Hall of Fame who were inducted on Friday night were famed Final Four photographer Rich Clarkson; Mary Chandler, the architecture critic for the late, great Rocky Mountain News; Mike Keefe, a Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist formerly of The Denver Post; and, posthumously, Damon Runyon, an early member of the Denver Press Club who is best known for moving to New York and writing “Guys and Dolls.”

(Click on the links, folks, for great reads on these people.)

Back in February, when the inductees were announced, I asked former state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams and columnist extraordinaire Mike Littwin to do the honors of introducing me during the banquet. Littwin is in Austin with a new grandson so Wadhams handled the job by himself.  It was a trip down memory lane as he mentioned previous Capitol reporters, including John Sanko, Fred Brown and Charlie Roos.

What an honor to be seated next to Dan Haley, former opinion page editor of The Post who introduced Keefe, and looking out at a crowd that included the only and only Andrew Hudson, the spokesman for Denver Mayor Wellington Webb at one point in his own amazing career. Also present at the Press Club: U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, former CU Regent Tom Lucero, former House Speaker Frank McNulty, former House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, former City Attorney Dan Muse, Denver Post folks Joey Bunch and Dan Petty, Eric Bergman with Colorado Counties Inc. and my new boss, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Thanks, Dick, for your remarks:

Read moreDenver Press Club Hall of Fame adds five new inductees

If you’re Chris Hansen, where’s Sen. Cory Gardner?

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Yuma Republican, and his chief of staff, Chris Hansen. (Facebook)
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Yuma Republican, and his chief of staff, Chris Hansen. (Facebook)

Meet Chris Hansen, the chief of staff for Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. Meet Chris Hansen, one of three Democrats running for a Denver state House seat.

The two Chris Hansens have never met but their paths have crossed for more than a year.

When candidate Chris Hansen showed up at the Denver Rustlers lunch on Sept. 1  guests peppered him with questions and comments. “Wait, you’re not the Chris Hansen I know!” and “I thought Cory’s chief of staff would be here when I saw your name on the list.”

It’s happened at other events, too, where both Republicans and Democrats are in the crowd.

Chief of Staff Chris Hansen knows the feeling. He opened up his Facebook page last year to find he had been “tagged” in a post by DA candidate Michael Carrigan as attending an event where Betsy Markey, a Democrat running for state treasurer, “gave great remarks about her race.”

“Wrong Chris Hansen,” Chris Hansen wrote on Facebook. “A very wrong Chris Hansen, since I’m actually Cory’s campaign manager. Looks like a fun event though.”

“It was,” Carrigan replied. “Should have brought Cory!”

Read moreIf you’re Chris Hansen, where’s Sen. Cory Gardner?

Former House colleagues praise Bill Berens; funeral services set for Saturday

Broomfield Mayor Bill Berens poses for a photo in the city council chambers. (The Denver Post)
Broomfield Mayor Bill Berens poses for a photo in the city council chambers. (The Denver Post)

The men and women who served with Republican Bill Berens in the state House on Friday praised the lawmaker for his devotion to the city of Broomfield and daring to speak his mind to make Colorado a better place.

“Bill Berens was a dapper, friendly soul,” said Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, who was chairwoman of the House Local Government Committee when Berens was a member.

“I recall that many of his contributions to our discussions began with ‘When I was mayor of Broomfield, we … ,’  or ‘In Broomfield, we ….’ He was very proud of his city and the role he had played in its progress,” she said.  “I’ll miss him at United Power legislative lunches where we would reminisce about ‘the good old days.’ May he rest in peace.”

Berens died Monday at the age of 66 after battling cancer for seven months. His funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Nativity of  Our Lord Catholic Church in Broomfield.

The Broomfield Enterprise and The Denver Post chronicled the life of Berens, a civil engineer who served four terms as Broomfield mayor and one term in the House before being swept out of office in the Democratic tidal wave of 2006.

“Rep. Berens and I opposed one another in two House races,” said Rep. Dianne Primavera, a Democrat. “He defeated me in 2004. I defeated him in 2006. Despite being competitors, he and I respected one another and had a cordial relationship.  He even offered several times to teach me to play golf! Ironically, my story has been one of a cancer survivor. Sadly, he had a different outcome with his illness. I’m still in shock at his passing.”

Happy 100th anniversary Rocky Mountain National Park

Russ and Lynn Waring, wearing period costumes, flank Estes Park Mayor Bill Pinkham at the 100th anniversary celebration of Rocky Mountain National Park. The event was Sept. 4 although the camera says Sept. 5. (Waring photo)
Russ and Lynn Waring, wearing period costumes, flank Estes Park Mayor Bill Pinkham at the 100th anniversary celebration of Rocky Mountain National Park on Sept. 4. (Waring photo)

When you spend your days off at your second home in Estes Park, the 100th anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park feels like a family affair, so much so that Lynn Waring and her husband Russ dressed in period costumes for the big party.

Lynn works for the Colorado Secretary of State Office’s business and licensing division and she took off on Sept. 4 to attend the anniversary celebration at Glacier Basin Campground. (The camera date is wrong.)

“Oh, it was beautiful,” she said. “There were about 1,000 people and they had cake and lemonade. It was so well organized that they didn’t have long lines.”

The Arvada resident it was exciting when the “bigwigs” showed up, including Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. Lynn’s husband is 6 foot 4 so he was able to raise his camera and get some good shots with her and the bigwigs.

Read moreHappy 100th anniversary Rocky Mountain National Park