Innovation in bellwether Larimer County

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with the Larimer County clerk and board of commissioners during a visit to Fort Collins last week. They are, left to right, Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Lew Gaiter, Williams, Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers and Commissioner Steve Johnson. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with the Larimer County clerk and board of commissioners during a visit to Fort Collins last week. They are, left to right, Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Lew Gaiter, Secretary Williams, Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers and Commissioner Steve Johnson. (SOS photo)

When Wayne Williams was elected El Paso County clerk and recorder in 2010, he visited the clerks in Larimer and Weld counties before he took office.

At the time, Williams was a county commissioner and had heard from the Larimer and Weld commissioners and their residents “about the quality of their clerks and the operations they ran,” he said.

Williams, now the secretary of state, returned to the Larimer County clerk’s office in Fort Collins last week as part of his goal to meet with clerks statewide to see what issues they face and how his office can help.

“We spoke about the quality of support from the secretary of state and his office,” Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers said. “It definitely feels like a partnership, and that is for the good of the entire state.”

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OnSight Public Affairs’ holiday card is outta site

This year's holiday card from OnSight Public Affairs, featuring, left to right, Ben Davis, Anne Pogoriler, Curtis Hubbard and Mike Melanson.
This year’s holiday card from OnSight Public Affairs, featuring, left to right, Ben Davis, Anne Pogoriler, Curtis Hubbard and Mike Melanson.

I  realized I had a stack of unopened mail on the dining room table last night and discovered another awesome holiday card, and from one of my favorite political firms.

OnSight Public Affairs went with a “Star Wars” theme, which is perfect timing considering the latest hype over the latest installment. A movie card is included.

“May the holiday be with you!” the cover of the card reads, emblazoned over a galaxy.

The flip side shows the OnSight team —  Ben Davis, Anne Pogoriler, Curtis Hubbard and Mike Melanson — dressed as characters from Star Wars.

I have a long history with three team members.

Melanson, a founding partner, recalls that I physically threatened him during the 2003 Denver mayoral campaign, which I am sure I did. In today’s climate the police would probably be notified but back then it was called “working your sources.

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R.I.P. Lewis — you were loved at the Colorado Capitol and at home

Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and her beloved dog, Lewis, who died last week. (Donovan picture)
Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and her beloved dog, Lewis, who died last week. (Donovan picture)

It’s hard to imagine the 2016 legislative session without Lewis, the beloved dog who loved to race down the hall and into the press room to see if someone was there to give him treats.

He ran so fast he would skid on the marble floor when trying to make the turn.

“The dog is going to make somebody fall,” I was admonished over and over again by the Senate sergeants.

Yet, I continued to buy bags of dog treats for the little guy, who won over my heart  on the campaign trail in 2014 when I met him at the Gunnison County Democratic picnic.

Lewis died last week of an enlarged heart. He died on his 8th birthday.

Donovan on Sunday sent a letter to her “Capitol friends” informing them of Lewis’ death. Condolences poured in.

“I am so sad to hear of little Lewis’ passing,” lobbyist Benjamin Waters wrote on his Facebook page. “Sen. Kerry Donovan from Vail kept this wonderful little pup in her office and whenever the days became contentious and long during the 2015 legislative session, this little guy made everyone feel better. RIP Lewis.”

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Sen. Cory Gardner, “our environmentalist,” addresses CACI

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at a lunch Thursday sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. (Photo courtesy of Evan Semón)
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at a lunch Thursday sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. (Photo courtesy of Evan Semón)

Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner was introduced at a business lunch in Denver on Thursday as “our environmentalist on Capitol Hill” and dang if he didn’t get up and recycle a joke from his 2014 campaign.

Gardner noted that the attack ads aimed at him featured “grainy black-and-white pictures” and seemed to air “every 30 seconds.”

“One of the greatest places you can go to as a Republican in a heated campaign is Cabella’s,” he said, referring to the giant fishing-and-hunting outlet.

Per usual, the line elicited laughter. Gardner talked about customers coming up to him at the Cabella’s in Grand Junction and asking how he was doing. Two men in particular were staring at him. One walked off but the other said, “Hey, hey, are you — ?” and Gardner smiled and said, “Yeah, yeah, I am.”

“So he calls his buddy over and says, ‘Look, it’s Bill Owens!'” Gardner said, referring to a former governor.

The crowd at the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry gathering let out a big laugh, and Gardner then finished off with another line: “So now I go to REI.”

Keith Pearson, chair-elect of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, and Travis Webb, a managing partner at BKD LLP, the new CACI chair, at a lunch Thursday (Photo by Evan Semón)
Keith Pearson, chair-elect of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, and Travis Webb, a managing partner at BKD LLP and the new CACI chair, at a lunch Thursday in Denver. (Photo by Evan Semón)

The crowd also welcomed CACI’s new chairman, Travis Webb, a managing partner at BKD LLP, one of the nation’s largest accounting and advisory firms. The Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry ‘s motto is “We champion a healthy business climate.”

Gardner last year defeated Democrat Mark Udall, becoming the first candidate in 36 years to knock off an incumbent Colorado U.S. senator. He told the crowd that he and Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and the rest of the Colorado delegation — featuring three Democrats and four Republicans — get along better than some delegations that are all members of the same party.

“The Colorado delegation works together better than any other delegation in the country,” Gardner said, adding that helped the state get the funding to finish the beleaguered Veterans Affairs hospital in Aurora.

The senator touched on a variety of topics, including broadband, deregulation, marijuana and banking, trade agreements and aerospace and technology. He got a big round of applause when he said the Senate passed the first long-term transportation bill in more than a decade, particularly after he spelled out what that money means for Colorado. And he talked about the need to bring the economic boom in certain parts of Colorado, such as the Denver metro area, to the rest of the state.

Gardner also joked on the situation in Washington, saying he is the only senator not running for president, and noted the one thing D.C. can agree on is who will not be speaker. He then pointed to CACI’s executive director, former state House Speaker Chuck Berry, and said a petition was circulating to put Berry in the post.

The line about Gardner being an environmentalist drew this response on Twitter from Conservation Colorado: “Interesting.” His environmental record was criticized during the campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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