Secretary Williams announces the launch of new business start-up tool

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne today launched MyBizColorado, a tool designed to simplify registering a business and obtaining state licenses and registrations.

The MyBizColorado tool creates a single system for new businesses to interact with multiple state agencies responsible for new businesses, including the Secretary of State’s office. The tool works on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. It is tailored to the needs of the small business users instead of state agencies.

The lieutenant governor kicked off the press conference by expressing her excitement about MyBizColorado.

Secretary Wayne Williams shares his experience with starting a business as Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Gov. John Hickenlooper look on. (SOS photo)

“In an excellent example of collaborating across government,”she said. “You’re going to hear from the secretary of state and the sovernor about delivering a product with real value for people looking to do business here.”

Colorado businesses are required to register with the Secretary of State’s office.

Williams explained how he stopped working for a large law firm to start his own business and how difficult it was because there was really no help or guidance.

“The purpose of MyBizColorado is to walk you through the process by asking you questions and doing it in a user-friendly fashion,” he said. “Whether it’s registering your business, establishing eligibility for tax withholding, unemployment insurance, or any steps you need to take to establish a business, it is designed to be focused on the users.”

Hickenlooper is familiar with the struggles of starting a business. He founded Wynkoop Brewing Co. in the late 1980s.

“That experience and how much paperwork there was and how much red tape there was, was really the provocation that took us to try and address these things,” the governor said.

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Emotional secretary of state knows nonprofits make a difference

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, with Michelle Majeune, who works with people with developmental disabilities, and Linda Childears, the Daniels Fund president and CEO, at the Colorado Nonprofit Association lunch today. (SOS photo)

The Colorado Nonprofit Association’s annual award lunch has produced its fair share of tears over the years as the community thanks those who make a difference in so many ways, and this year’s catalyst for catharsis was Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Usually, it’s the award recipient who is weepy.

In this case it was Williams, set to hand out an award to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who became so emotional when  praising nonprofit groups that he had to pause for several seconds before he could continue.

“For those who don’t know my two daughters, we learned as they grew that they had significant speech deficiencies,” Williams told a ballroom full of people at the Hilton Denver City Center. “So we worked with The Resource Exchange, one of our great nonprofits in the Colorado Springs area, to provide services for them.”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams became emotional today when talking about the impact of a nonprofit on his family. (SOS photo)

Williams paused, and when he could resume speaking, his voice was thick with emotion.

“In 2013 I had the opportunity to hear the youngest of those daughters give the salutorian address at Rampart High School,” he said, to applause.

“Folks,” Williams said, struggling to continue, “the work that you do makes a real difference in the lives of everyone.”

After the lunch, Williams talked with the Gerry Rasel, director of membership services for the Colorado Nonprofit Association, who told him she cried during his speech.

The Colorado Nonprofit Association exists to strengthen nonprofits. Today was its 23rd annual awards lunch, capping a week of highlighting nonprofit agencies.

Renny Fagan, president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, talks at a reception before today’s awards lunch. (SOS photo)

“Colorado Nonprofit Week is one of our favorite times of the year because it brings all of us together and truly shines a light on the important contributions that happen everyday in communities,” said Renny Fagan, president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association.

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Secretary of State Wayne Williams inspires Inspire Colorado

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with four of the students who attended the Inspire Colorado event Monday night at History Colorado. From left to right: Robin Peterson, 17, Peak to Peak charter school; Torey Wyman, 17, and Tatum Wallis, 16, South High School; and Lila Jordan, 16, Denver School of Science and Technology, Cole campus. (SOS photo)
Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne. (SOS photo)

Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote? What is Colorado doing about climate change? What do you see as the top priorities in government?

Those are some the issues that arose Monday night when Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and four state lawmakers talked to a crowd of teen-agers at Inspire Colorado’s youth engagement forum about the importance of voting and being involved.

Inspire Colorado is a student-driven program that focuses on leadership, democracy and community. The students have encouraged their high school peers to register to vote, and others to participate in elections.

Lynne noted that she’s 63 and has never missed voting in an election. She brought up the discussion about 16-year-olds voting, after earlier being asked by a high school journalist if she supported the move.

And she also noted that a number of the participants at History Colorado were female.

“Wayne, what are we going to do about that?” she asked. The secretary of state, the father of two daughters, was cheered when he responded, “Celebrate it!”

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Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne hits the ground running — and dancing

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne after she visited his office today. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne after she visited his office today. (SOS photo)

Colorado’s newest lieutenant governor has already appointed a judge, learned how to do the Ute tribal bear dance and reached out to her other colleagues in the executive branch, including Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne has met with Williams, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Treasurer Walker Stapleton, as well as various lawmakers and cabinet secretaries.

“I want to extend my hand and my ear,” Lynne said, after her meeting today with the secretary of state in his office.

“I appreciate Donna’s reaching out,” Williams said, “and I look forward to working with her to help Colorado government offer better service to its citizens.”

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Colorado welcomes a new lieutenant governor

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Gov. John Hickenlooper flank new Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne after she was sworn into office May 12 at the state Capitol. (Bernard Grant/Special to the SOS)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Gov. John Hickenlooper flank new Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne after she was sworn into office May 12 at the state Capitol. (Bernard Grant/Special to the SOS)

Donna Lynne officially became Colorado’s 49th lieutenant governor after she took the oath of office at the state Capitol in front of friends, family and a whole lot of political folks.

Lynne told Gov. John Hickenlooper during the ceremony on Thursday it was a good thing he didn’t choose her as his running mate when he first ran for governor in 2010 because her maiden name was Schleinkofer.  The idea of a Hickenlooper-Schleinkofer ticket got a laugh during the light-hearted ceremony.

Hickenlooper picked Joe Garcia, the president of Colorado State University-Pueblo,  to run with him on the Democratic ticket, and the pair was re-elected in 2014. Garcia announced last fall he was returning to education, and Hickenlooper in March announced Lynne would  succeed Garcia.

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