“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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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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Wayne Williams: ‘The people who won the election, won the election’

Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Tuesday addressed the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and Leadership Pikes Peak. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels
and Julia Sunny

Secretary of State Wayne Williams preached to the choir on Tuesday, telling his fellow Colorado Springs brethren that Colorado’s transportation woes aren’t good for the economy.

“My wife’s from Utah so I get to go over to Utah frequently and I drive this 10-lane interstate that exists between their equivalent of Colorado Springs, which is Provo, and Salt Lake, which is their equivalent of Denver,” he said. “We have four (lanes). They have 10. We have almost twice as many people. See if that math makes sense to you. It doesn’t to me. ”

He knows first hand: He still lives in Colorado Springs and has to make that “really crappy drive” on Interstate 25 to his office in Denver.

Lobbyist Joan Green and Rep. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument.

Williams said once when he was flying out of Salt Lake City he asked some skiers at the airport, “Why Utah?” Their answer: They can get to the slopes faster than flying into Denver.

“That’s something we have to address as a state for our continued economic viability,” he said.

Williams, a former El Paso County commissioner and clerk, addressed the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and Leadership Pike Peaks at a lunch at History Colorado before group members headed to the state Capitol for their 2017 Day at the Capitol.

The secretary of state spoke on familiar topics, including election integrity.

“Here in Colorado,” he said, “I can assuredly tell you that the people who won the election, won the election.”

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Elway, Webb, Suthers and others help “Raise the Bar”

The Colorado Farm Bueau hand painted campaign signs to promote Amendment 71, which makes it harder to amend the state constitution. (Brophy photo)
The Colorado Farm Bueau hand-painted campaign signs to promote Amendment 71, which makes it harder to amend the state constitution. (Brophy photo)

With the tidal wave of press calls over, I finally have time to digest the election results, and I’m stunned by the map of which counties supported the effort to make it harder to amend the constitution.

In case you weren’t aware, the election results that are posted on the Colorado Secretary of State web site includes maps for each candidate and issue to show how they fared on a county-by-county basis.

Amendment 71, or Raise the Bar as it was called, passed 56 percent to 44 percent. But I never knew until I clicked on the map late Wednesday that it passed in 60 of Colorado’s 64 counties. Only voters in  Boulder, Denver, Gilpin and San Miguel opposed it, and Gilpin’s vote was close.

Former state Sen. Greg Brophy, a Yuma Wray* Republican, teamed up with Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, a Democrat, to put the measure on the ballot. They were joined by high-profile names on both sides of the aisle, including former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, Gov. John Hickenlooper and his predecessors, and others. The Farm Bureau put up signs in rural Colorado.

“And having John Elway didn’t hurt,” Brophy said, referring to Denver Bronco’ general manager and former Super Bowl quarterback. (For the record, the election was before the Kansas City Chiefs game.)

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