Chauncey Billups: Denver’s “Big Shot”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and former Mayor Wellington Webb, left, and NBA standout Chauncey Billups and his wife Piper, right, flank Billups’ portrait that was unveiled Tuesday at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. (Photo by Josh Miller/Special to the SOS)

Hometown hero Chauncey Billups credited his family and his community for his successes on and off the basketball court when his photograph was unveiled this week at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.

The NBA all-star said he plans to bring his daughters to see the library when they are home from college for the holidays and he urged others to visit the library at 2401 Welton St.

Basketball star Chauncey Billups pays tribute to Denver’s first black mayor, Wellington Webb. (Photos by Evan Semón Photography @evansemonphotography #denverEvan)

“My great great grandkids are going to be able to come here and see their old, old man,” Billups said.

“I never dreamed this big, to have something like this. … I’m so proud of where I’m from and who raised me. I appreciate you all supporting me over the years and I love you back.”

He also thanked former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and Webb’s wife, former state Rep. Wilma Webb, for their efforts in pushing for the construction of the library, where a portion is dedicated to making sure Denver and Colorado’s rich black history is not lost.

“You talk about people who impacted me as a kid?” Billups said. “Having Mayor Webb being a black mayor from the neighborhood instilled in us kids we could do anything.”

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Sabor attendee: Secretary Williams “cares about our community”

The Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 11th annual Sabor on Friday night at the Denver Botanic Gardens attracted plenty of people. From left to right, state GOP chairman Jeff Hays, with his back to the camera, Maria Del Carmen Guzman-Weese, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton and Rocío Pérez, the CEO of Inventíva. (SOS photo)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis. (SOS Photo).

Secretary of State Wayne Williams attended the 11th annual Sabor last week hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver at the Denver Botanical Gardens.

“Sabor,” the Spanish word for flavor, was the theme of the night, which included a “sensory exploration of the Americas.”

The event featured an impressive array of food and drink, along with traditional Peruvian outfits and live Spanish music. encompassing the Latin American culture.

“Colorado has a rich Hispanic heritage and our office has a great partnership with Denver’s Hispanic Chamber, including working together to make a welcome video for new businesses,” Williams said.

Saida Perez and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

Local businesses came out to celebrate.

Saida Perez, owner of Tru Services insurance agency, stopped Secretary Williams to thank him for his work and take a picture with him.

“The Sabor was a great event for networking and allowing the government and business to work together. I have a lot of clientele that need to have things notarized and Secretary Williams has made this process easy and efficient,” Perez said.

It was an experience repeated throughout the evening.

“It was a lot of fun to sample some great food, experience awesome culture and visit with so many friends,” Williams said.

“The best thing, though, was being stopped by folks I’d never met who wanted to let me know how easy it was to use our website to register a business or nonprofit, become a notary, or register to vote,” Williams said.

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Denver Rustlers: A Colorado tradition

Gathered for today’s Denver Rustler’s event: Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Steve Weil of Rockmount Ranch, and Wes Friednash and Josh Hanfling, who both help oversee the event. (SOS photo)

For 33 years now, Colorado’s business, civil and political leaders have worked together to make Denver Rustlers the guardian angel of both the Colorado State Fair and the rural kids who show their animals at the event.

Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black and Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson. (SOS photo)

The Rustlers boarded three large buses today and headed south to Pueblo, where its pool of money will be used to bid on sheep, cattle and more during the Junior Livestock Sale.

“It’s one of my favorite events,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who works in Denver and commutes from Colorado Springs. “It’s always nice to get outside of the metro area and visit the rest of the state.”

The event begins in Greenwood Village with an early lunch at Del Frisco’s (home of the most incredible mini corn dogs you will ever eat).

It attracts current and former governors (John Hickenlooper and Bill Ritter, respectively), current and former agricultural commissioners (Don Brown and Don Ament, respectively); members of Congress and the General Assembly, county commissioners, city council members and more.

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The Colorado legislature convenes …

Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, Tom and Laurie Kennedy of Colorado Springs, parents of Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)
Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, Tom and Laurie Kennedy of Colorado Springs, parents of Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

Today marks Day 3 of the Colorado Legislature, which convened on Wednesday amid plenty of excitement as new lawmakers were sworn in and the social calendar kicked off.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams mingled with senators and representatives and their families before the opening ceremonies Wednesday.

When he met incoming Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, he realized he knew the lawmaker’s dad. Tom Kennedy and Williams both practiced law at the same time in Colorado Springs.

Williams on Thursday attended Gov.  John Hickenlooper’s seventh State of the State speech.

“We have 725 days left together, and as the late, great, Muhammad Ali said, ‘Don’t count the days, make the days count,'” Hickenlooper said.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, on opening day. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, on opening day. (SOS photo)

I loved covering the Colorado legislature, first for the Rocky Mountain News and then for The Denver Post (except for some of those hearings or debates that never seemed to end).

My first session was in 2000 where the hottest committee was House Finance. Every lawmaker, it seemed, had an idea of how to cut taxes  to reduce that billion-dollar surplus. Yes, billion with a B. Such heady times, followed by such hard times.

Eventually the excitement of the opening days leads to exhaustion, frustration and drama.

“Often referred to as Gold Dome High School, the Capitol is a petri dish for hurt feelings, dust-ups and behavior lawmakers often regret,” I wrote in 2011, after the latest blow up.

When May finally rolls around, there’s relief and a tinge of sadness. That building really is so special, the people who work there — the lawmakers, the lobbyists, the staff, the janitors, the reporters — they all make it hum.

Read moreThe Colorado legislature convenes …

Black politicians honored at lunch

Rep. Angela Williams addresses the Colorado Black women for Political Action lunch Oct. 9 in Denver. With her are, left to right, Rep. Janet Buckner, Leslie Herod, Rep. Rhonda Fields and Dominique Jackson. (Williams photo)
Rep. Angela Williams addresses the Colorado Black women for Political Action lunch Oct. 9 in Denver. With her are, left to right, Rep. Janet Buckner, Leslie Herod, Rep. Rhonda Fields and Dominique Jackson. (Williams photo)

At one point it looked like the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 was going to be without a black lawmaker for the first time in decades, but now there is talk there could be as many as eight when the 2017 session convenes in January.

Rep. Angela Williams of Denver outlined the history of blacks in the Colorado General Assembly when she addressed the Colorado Black Women for Political Action lunch on Oct. 9. The event attracted men and women of all colors and political persuasions.

Gloria Tanner, the first African American woman to serve in the Colorado Senate, at the lunch. (SOS photo)
Gloria Tanner, the first African American woman to serve in the Colorado Senate, at the lunch. (SOS photo)

“It took the state 96 years to elect its first African-American female legislator who served in the House of Representatives, the Honorable Arie Taylor of Denver,” Williams said. “As for the Senate, it took this state 118 years to elect its first African-American female senator, the Honorable Gloria Tanner.”

In addition, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock noted although the black population never exceeded more than 5 percent of the state population, it elected three blacks to statewide office: Lt. Govs. George Brown and Joe Rogers, and Secretary of State Vikki Buckley.

Same in Denver, he said, where the black population never exceeded 12 percent but he and Wellingon Webb were elected mayor and Stephanie O’Malley was elected clerk.

“I’m proud to be here as Denver’s 45th mayor to talk about the importance of the Colorado Black Women for Political Action, the first voices we seek before we place our name on that ballot, and the first favoritism we ask for the honor to serve,” Hancock said.

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