“In Colorado, we like things to be fair”

Sen. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, who announced in December she was leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an unaffiliated voter, speaks at a UChooseCO event Tuesday aimed at informing unaffiliated voters about the primary election. Seated to her left is Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

Two Colorado politicians who are unaffiliated appealed Tuesday to other unaffiliated voters to get involved in the June 26 primary election and help choose which Democratic and Republican hopefuls will be on the ballot in November.

Richard Skorman, president of the Colorado Springs City Council, and state Sen. Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge, said they are glad not to be unaffiliated with any party. Skorman has been unaffiliated since 2002, while Jahn announced last December that after voting independently for years she was leaving the Democratic Party.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers writes on an inflatable “U” that is part of the UChooseCO campaign for unaffiliated voters as Colorado Springs City Council President Richard Skorman looks on. (UChooseCO photo)

“I really think there’s a lot of us out there who want to be able to weigh in on both sides,” Skorman said, during a news conference at Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs in the morning.

“I want you to know how important your voices are,” Jahn said, during a news conference on the west steps of the state Capitol in Denver in the afternoon.

The events were part of the Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ UChooseCO campaign to help inform unaffiliated voters about their new rights and responsibilities for participating in primary elections.  The campaign kicked off last week in Grand Junction.

Kent Thiry, chairman and CEO of DaVita,  financed and led Proposition 108, which voters passed in 2016 giving unaffiliated voters — the largest voting block in Colorado — the right to automatically receive primary ballots.

He said in Washington lawmakers have taken him aside to say they would like to vote on compromise bills but if they did they would be knocked out in their next primary election.

“We’ve got lots of elected officials who will be liberated to govern in ways they haven’t been historically,” Thiry told the Denver crowd.

At each event, speakers were asked to write on a yellow, 8-foot, inflatable U a word or phrase that reflected their values. The U’s will remain in their communities during the campaign. Williams, who lives in Colorado Springs and suffers a miserable commute to work in Denver, wrote “I-25” on the U in Colorado Springs. He continued the theme in Denver, writing “transportation” on that inflatable.

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Secretary Williams talks dollars and sense to JBC

Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks with lawmakers and members of the Joint Budget Committee Tuesday before a hearing on the department’s budget. Left to right: Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction; Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley; Secretary Williams; Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud; and JBC Chairwoman Millie Hamner, D-Dillon. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams highlighted the office’s achievements and challenges when he presented his budget requests to the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday.

“We work very hard to make sure we provide the services that Colorado expects and deserves and our paying for with their fees,” he said. “I’m proud that we are able to do that with business fees that are among the lowest in the nation.

Secretary Wayne Williams, the SOS’ budget director, Brad Lang, and Rep. Susan Beckman, R-Littleton, at Tuesday’s Joint Budget Committee hearing. (SOS photo)

“As the state grows, as our processes change, we need to keep pace with that. We need not to be caught napping and waiting and our budget anticipates that.”

He noted the office is working on an information campaign to educate voters about Colorado’s first open primary next June, when unaffiliated voters will receive a ballot and must decide whether to vote the Democratic or Republican ticket.

Voters last year approved that measure with the passage of Proposition 108 and Williams has been on a speaking tour, explaining it to Colorado voters. He will address the League of Women Voters in Durango on Saturday.

He told the JBC that Colorado has just completed the first ever in the nation risk limiting audit, which is an audit of the state’s elections based on mathematical algorithms.

“That provides us with a statistically significant probability that the state’s elections systems correctly tabulated Coloradans ballots,” Williams said.

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Brittany & Ian: “In sickness and in health, in wins and in losses”

Ian Silverii and Brittany Petterson’s wedding announcement picture in front of the Governor’s Mansion.

I love the story of how Ian Silverii and Brittany Pettersen met.

On a cold December day at the corner of 13th Avenue and Sherman Street, right in front of Denver’s version of Portlandia, City O’ City, and just a block from the state Capitol, Ian was headed to a meeting and Brittany was standing in the freezing cold with a clipboard.

Brittany Pettersen and Ian Silverii laugh as friends and family tell stories about them at their wedding.

“Do you have a minute to save the children?” she asked.

“No,” Ian replied, “but I have about 30 minutes to flirt with you.”

I burst out laughing when I read about that encounter on the couple’s wedding website. I met Ian when he had the good sense to introduce himself to me at Hamburger Mary’s and say he was a huge fan of my reporting. His line to Brittany in 2009 was so him: fast and funny.

Their wedding Saturday at the Governor’s Mansion was such a Demapalooza that Sen. Lois Court joked enough lawmakers were present to go into an emergency special session and vote to fund the energy office.

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Colorado County Clerks Association honors four lawmakers

State Rep. Dominick Morena, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane and lobbyist Mike Beasley at the Colorado County Clerks Association meeting Monday. Crane is president of the group, which honored four lawmakers, including Moreno. (SOS photo)
State Rep. Dominick Moreno, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane and lobbyist Mike Beasley at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference Monday. Crane is president of the group, which honored four lawmakers, including Moreno. (SOS photo)

The Colorado County Clerks Association today recognized three lawmakers who sponsored a bill to make it easier for clerks to maintain or upgrade equipment used to record documents.

The effort to pass the bill actually began two to three years ago, CCCA director Pam Anderson told clerks at their summer conference, which began Monday.

A lot of people put a lot of effort into getting Senate Bill 115 passed, she said, including the sponsors. The bill was sponsored by two Republicans, Rep. Kathleen Conti of Littleton and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik of Thornton, and Rep. Dominick Moreno, a Commerce City Democrat.

“With perseverance you can get things done at the Capitol,” Humenik told the clerks. “Sometimes it just takes several years.”

The clerks association also honored outgoing Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, a Boulder Democrat who is only the second woman to lead the House. She carried House Bill 1303 in 2013, which made major changes in Colorado’s election laws.

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So long, 2016 legislative session — and certain lawmakers

Senate President Bill Cadman, Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on the final day of the 2016 legislative session Wednesday. (SOS photo)
Senate President Bill Cadman, Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on the final day of the 2016 legislative session Wednesday. (SOS photo)

Another legislative session is in the history books and another crop of term-limited lawmakers is on its way out,  including Republican Bill Cadman and Democrat Mary Hodge, who each served 16 years under the Gold Dome.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with lawmakers in the House and Senate on their final day of the session on Wednesday.

“Thank you for your service,” he said to Cadman, the Senate president, and Mark Scheffel of Parker, the Senate majority leader, who also is term limited.

Read moreSo long, 2016 legislative session — and certain lawmakers