Once again, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s son has upstaged him, this time at the San Luis Valley Lincoln Day Dinner in Alamosa Saturday night.
Two years ago, Thatcher Gardner stole the show from state Senate President Bill Cadman at the Colorado Republican Party’s Centennial Dinner in the metro area. Thatcher was 3 at the time when he kept mimicking Cadman; he’s now 5 as he was happy to remind his dad.
Gardner, the featured speaker at the dinner, was telling the crowd about when his son had worked on a school project that asked for favorite color and such. Thatcher, who was seated at the head table, was intent on his computer game.
“I think he was 4 at the time,” Gardner said.
“I’m 5,” Thatcher said, without looking up.
It was the second time the boy addressed the dinner.
The first time was when Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams spoke, after being introduced by Alamosa County Commissioner Darius Allen, who praised Williams. Allen said when Williams served on the El Paso County Board of Commissioners he looked out for small, rural counties and was the commissioners’ go-to-guy on transportation. Williams talked about elections — and transportation.
“I didn’t care what affiliation the road was when it had a pothole in it,” Williams said, resulting in a big “Ha!” from Thatcher that drew a laugh from the crowd.
“It was great,” said County Clerk Sharon Dubois. “I introduced Wayne to everyone — of course, it’s Baca County so I knew everyone.”
Williams, other county elected officials and state Sen. Larry Crowder participated in a town hall meeting at the courthouse in Springfield.
Baca — which the locals and longtime Coloradans pronounce Back-uh — boasts a population of 3,682 people and the towns of Springfield, Walsh, Campo, Prichett, Two Buttes and Vilas. It borders New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas. Baca County is so remote that Dubois said she tells new ministers it probably feels like they’re on a mission.
“We’re closer to Amarillo, Texas, than we are to Pueblo,” she said. “But we’re still Colorado. I just wish they’d quit standing in front of Springfield when they give the weather report.”
In the morning, the Colorado secretary of state attended the Leadership Program of the Rockies’ annual retreat in Colorado Springs where he met a Medal of Honor recipient. That evening, he delivered the keynote address at the Otero County Lincoln Day Dinner in La Junta.
Williams’ next local speaking engagement is Tuesday when he will address the DTC Kiwanis Club. The breakfast at Mimi’s in Lone Tree begins at 7 a.m.
Williams thanked Otero County Republicans for helping him win the secretary of state’s race in 2014. He received 54 percent of the vote in Otero County compared to Democrat Joe Neguse’s 33 percent. Statewide, Williams beat Neguse by 2.2 percentage points.
“I have fought for our right to vote in the legislature and on the ground level. I care deeply about our right to vote and protecting the integrity of our election processes,” he said. “That’s why I chose to run for Colorado secretary of state.”