Joe Garcia: the coolest lieutenant governor, the hippest hot tamale

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia leads the Ignacio Bikers parade in 2011. (Photo Steve Lewis/Durango Herald/used with permission)
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia leads the Ignacio Bikers parade in 2011. (Photo Steve Lewis/Durango Herald/used with permission)

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia surprised Colorado today,  announcing he will step down some time next year to pursue his passion in higher education.

Garcia, the former president of Colorado State University-Pueblo, will become president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Since taking office in 2011 with Gov. John Hickenlooper, Garcia has been an unconventional lite gov.

Garcia also serves as the director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, which means the governor likely will have two jobs to fill.

Garcia is known for his sense of humor. When Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock were out of town, Garcia and City Attorney Scott Martinez were in charge of their government agencies. Garcia tweeted out their pictures and said “First move. Pueblo is now state Capitol.  What else?” Martinez tweeted, “Two hot tamales in charge. New law: Green chile is the official city and state fruit.”

Read moreJoe Garcia: the coolest lieutenant governor, the hippest hot tamale

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s “Sweet Second Term” (Bom, bom, bom)

Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Hick-tones perform at the Denver Press Club's annual Gridiron Show. From left to right, Hickenlooper, Left to right:
Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Hick-tones perform at the Denver Press Club’s annual Gridiron Show. From left to right, Hickenlooper, Sabrina D’Agosta, Sarah Moss, Tom Scharf, Bob Rebholtz and Tom Clark. (Photo courtesy of the Hick-tones.)

Gov. John Hickenlooper admits he doesn’t have much of a voice, but he and the Hick-Tones, the group that backs him up every year at the Denver Press Club’s annual Gridiron Show, once again put together a heck of a performance, this year to the tune of “Sweet Caroline.”

It all began/Back at my little brewpub/Playin’ pool and slingin’ beer

Entrepreneur/Mayor and then the guv’na/I can’t sing but I’m still here

Hands/Shaking hands/Creatin’ jobs … for you and me/

Sweet state of mine (bom, bom, bom)/Colorado you’re so good/

Broncos front line (bom, bom, bom) Just ain’t working like it should/

Read moreGov. John Hickenlooper’s “Sweet Second Term” (Bom, bom, bom)

On the road again: Secretary Wayne Williams swings through Colorado

Board of Education member Joyce Rankin from the 3rd Congressional District and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams have some fun Friday night posing in front of Lockheed Martin's photo screen at Club 20's steak fry in Grand Junction. (Joe Rice, Lockheed Martin)
Board of Education member Joyce Rankin from the 3rd Congressional District and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams have some fun Friday night posing in front of Lockheed Martin’s photo screen at Club 20’s steak fry in Grand Junction. (Joe Rice, Lockheed Martin)

Friday was a long day for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who attended a court hearing in  Denver in the morning, met with two county clerks on the Western Slope in the afternoon and then attended Club 20’s steak fry at its fall meeting in Grand Junction that night.

Next week Williams heads to the San Luis Valley for the southern region’s county clerks fall conference in Alamosa. On Thursday he was in Limon for the fall conference of the eastern region’s county clerks.

Williams, who took office in January, has been traveling the state meeting with clerks, including some who were elected last year and who will be conducting their first election on Nov. 3. He said it’s one of the best parts of his job.

Read moreOn the road again: Secretary Wayne Williams swings through Colorado

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

Busy times at the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office

Gov. Bill Owens and his El Paso County campaign chairman during Owens' 2002 re-election bid. Owens went on to win in a landslide and Williams won his first term as county commissioner. Williams now is Colorado secretary of state. (Williams photo)
Gov. Bill Owens and his El Paso County campaign chairman, Wayne Williams, during Owens’ 2002 re-election bid. Owens went on to win in a landslide and Williams was elected to his first term as county commissioner. Williams now is Colorado secretary of state. (Williams photo)

When I left journalism to become the spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, people said I’d be bored, that I’d pack it in within a few weeks.

Bored? Hardly. This is no sleepy state agency. Thing are happening at the Secretary of State’s Office — and not just because an election activist or two or three might need another hobby.

But I do miss writing for The Spot, The Denver Post’s award-winning political blog. As Kathy Green, the spunky spokeswoman for Gov. John Hickenlooper, likes to say, “If Lynn Bartels doesn’t blog about it, did it really happen?”

Over the years, first for the Rocky Mountain News and then for the Post, I chronicled the engagements, weddings and births — and not always in that order! — of a variety of people involved in Colorado politics. Sandwiched between news about party chairmanship problems or a wild U.S. Senate race or legislative hearings on gun-control measures, these blog items helped make politicians what they are: human.

George Merritt, the spokesman for Hickenlooper’s first gubernatorial run in 2010, celebrated the birth of twin daughters in 2012.

“Political consultant George Merritt  hasn’t been this happy since Dan Maes won the GOP gubernatorial primary,” I wrote in The Spot.

Rep. Jon Keyser, his wife Emma, and their new baby, Jack. (Keyser photo)
Rep. Jon Keyser, his wife Emma, and their new baby, Jack. (Keyser photo)

So I’m ecstatic that my new boss, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, has encouraged me to write a blog — and let me lift a picture from his office to run with my first piece. I laughed when one of  our tech guys asked who was in the picture with former Gov. Bill Owens.

The first baby to make the new blog:  Jonathan “Jack” Wyatt Keyser, the second child of Rep. Jon Keyser, R-Morrison, and his wife, Emma. Jack, who arrived Thursday morning, is the latest in a wave of Capitol babies. He joins a  sister,  Elleanor, who is 2.

Some days on the blog I might take a deeper look at what is going on at the office, an innovative program underway or another award the staff racked up. Just this week, the good folks who raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital praised our operation, saying Colorado has the best charitable registration system in the country.

Other days, well, stay tuned.