Bruce Benson, one of Colorado’s best

Bruce Benson smiles as he talks to reporters after he was voted to be president of the University of Colorado by the CU Board of Regents Feb. 20, 2008. (Rocky Mountain News/Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library)

University of Colorado President Bruce Benson’s announcement last week that he was retiring in a year brought much deserved accolades about his contributions to education, but the reality is Benson’s investment in Colorado straddles a variety of issues. We are all the better for it.

I covered the legislature in 2005 when deep, deep cuts still hadn’t solved the budget crisis. There were very real behind-the-scene discussions about what was next. Community colleges and state parks were on the list, even though closing them would trigger economic disasters in those regions.

Bruce, an oilman and business executive, and two other high-profile Republicans, Gov. Bill Owens and then CU President Hank Brown, put their reputations on the line to push for the passages of Referendums C and D. The right dissed the tax measures but the trio held firm.

“This isn’t about politics; this is about good fiscally conservative policies,” Benson told the Pueblo Chieftain.

Read moreBruce Benson, one of Colorado’s best

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.”

Read moreAnchors A-Wayne! Secretary Williams finishes naval submarine chapter

Brittany & Ian: “In sickness and in health, in wins and in losses”

Ian Silverii and Brittany Petterson’s wedding announcement picture in front of the Governor’s Mansion.

I love the story of how Ian Silverii and Brittany Pettersen met.

On a cold December day at the corner of 13th Avenue and Sherman Street, right in front of Denver’s version of Portlandia, City O’ City, and just a block from the state Capitol, Ian was headed to a meeting and Brittany was standing in the freezing cold with a clipboard.

Brittany Pettersen and Ian Silverii laugh as friends and family tell stories about them at their wedding.

“Do you have a minute to save the children?” she asked.

“No,” Ian replied, “but I have about 30 minutes to flirt with you.”

I burst out laughing when I read about that encounter on the couple’s wedding website. I met Ian when he had the good sense to introduce himself to me at Hamburger Mary’s and say he was a huge fan of my reporting. His line to Brittany in 2009 was so him: fast and funny.

Their wedding Saturday at the Governor’s Mansion was such a Demapalooza that Sen. Lois Court joked enough lawmakers were present to go into an emergency special session and vote to fund the energy office.

Read moreBrittany & Ian: “In sickness and in health, in wins and in losses”

Jason Kander’s candor delights Colorado Democrats

Jason Kander assembled a rifle while blindfolded in his U.S. Senate race, a topic that came up when he spoke to the Colorado Democratic Party at its annual dinner Saturday in Denver.

It turns out that the Missouri Democrat, who now is the president of Let America Vote,  hired the same ad man behind John Hickenlooper’s spot featuring the then-Denver mayor showering while clothed when running for Colorado governor in 2010.

“Jason ran, in my view, the best Senate campaign in 2016, Republican or Democrat,” U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado said when he introduced Kander.

“And it wasn’t just because of his good ads or his family or because he’s a compelling speaker. It was because of his character. Jason the candidate was no different than the father, the husband, the former intelligence officer, the Secretary of State.”

Ah, secretary of state.

Read moreJason Kander’s candor delights Colorado Democrats

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s son Thatcher steals the show — again

U.S. Sen. Cory and his wife, Jaime, and their children Thatcher, 5, Caitlyn, 2, and Alyson, 13, at the San Luis Valley Lincoln Day Dinner in Alamosa Saturday night. (SOS)

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.

Thatcher Gardner proudly displays where his tooth used to be. (SOS)

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.

Read moreU.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s son Thatcher steals the show — again