Honoring “The Lady of the House”

Former Sen. Dottie Wham, former Capitol staffer Mary Sharon Wells, Sen. Pat Steadman and lobbyist Charlie Hebler at the memorial tribute for Lee Bahrych, former chief clerk of the House, Tuesday at the Colorado State Capitol. (SOS photo)
Former Sen. Dottie Wham, former Capitol staffer Mary Sharon Wells, Sen. Pat Steadman and lobbyist Charlie Hebler at the memorial tribute Tuesday at the Colorado State Capitol for Lee Bahrych, former chief clerk of the House. (SOS photo)

Lawmakers past and present showed up Tuesday to pay tribute to Lee Bahrych, the former chief clerk of the state House who loved the Capitol as much as she despised the pranks rowdy lawmakers were prone to pull.

Former staffer Donna Acierno recalled how Bahrych once got so annoyed with Rep. Scott McInnis she grabbed the lawmaker’s ear and made him sit down in his seat.

“That was before Scott was in leadership,” Acierno said, with a laugh.

Chief Clerk Marilyn Eddins and former Rep. Jeff Shoemaker at a tribute Tuesday for the late Lee Bahrych. (SOS photo)
Chief Clerk Marilyn Eddins and former Rep. Jeff Shoemaker at a tribute Tuesday for the late Lee Bahrych, former chief clerk of the House. (SOS photo)

McInnis, who went on to become the House majority leader, a congressman and now a Mesa County commissioner, was present at Bahrych’s tribute in the old Supreme Court chambers at the Capitol. Afterward, guests were invited to have strawberries and pound cake — in honor of Bahrych’s tradition of serving strawberries to her staffers once the session ended.

Bahrych, who died in April at the age of 90, had worked at the Capitol from 1970 to 1994.

“I thought it was a beautiful tribute to a great lady,” said the current chief clerk, Marilyn Eddins. “Lee was there when I was interviewed and hired in 1982. I had not been employed in 16 years and was very nervous. She put me at ease and I have never forgotten her kind words and encouragement. That encouragement never stopped.”

Eddins became emotional when talking about Bahrych.

Read moreHonoring “The Lady of the House”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits Eagle, Mesa counties

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams joined Mesa County elected officials for their quarterly luncheon today in Grand Junction. They are: Commissioner Scott McInnis, Surveyor Patrick Green, Treasurer Janice Rich (the former county clerk), Williams, Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner, Commissioner Rose Pugliese, Sheriff Matt Lewis, Assessor Ken Brownlee and Commissioner John Justman.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams joined Mesa County elected officials for their quarterly luncheon Wednesday in Grand Junction. They are: Commissioner Scott McInnis, Surveyor Patrick Green, Treasurer Janice Rich (the former county clerk), Williams, Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner, Commissioner Rose Pugliese, Sheriff Matt Lewis, Assessor Ken Brownlee and Commissioner John Justman.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams hit the road Wednesday, visiting with Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton and elected officials in Mesa County.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton and her staff Wednesday in Vail. From left to right: Jenny Thompson, administrative technician; Karen Sepp, election deputy; Stacey Jones, election manager; Williams and Simonton.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited with Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton and her staff Wednesday in Vail. From left to right: Jenny Thompson, administrative technician; Karen Sepp, election deputy; Stacey Jones, election manager; Williams and Simonton.

“It’s great to get away from the Front Range and visit my friends on the Western Slope,” Williams said. “Hearing what’s going on their communities helps me make better decisions as the Colorado secretary of state.”

Williams toured Eagle County’s election division in the morning, before new equipment from Dominion Voting Systems arrived in the afternoon. It was tested today.

Simonton served on the committee that reviewed four election firms that piloted their equipment in eight counties in the November election. The committee unanimously chose Dominion as its top choice, and Williams chose Dominion so Colorado could move to a single-voting system.

“Dominion has been really terrific to work with,” Simonton said. It’s been a really easy process.”

In Grand Junction, Williams joined Mesa County elected officials who meet quarterly for lunch.

Secretary Wayne Williams’ Denver Broncos shirt elicits cheers in D.C.

Congressman Ken Buck, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Buck chief of staff Mac Zimmerman at Buck's DC office on Tuesday. His staff let out a cheer when they saw Williams' T-shirt.
Congressman Ken Buck, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Buck chief of staff Mac Zimmerman at Buck’s D.C. office on Tuesday. Buck’s staff let out a cheer when they saw Williams’ T-shirt.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, right, and his wife Jeanne, had some fun when they saw fellow Colorado Springs Republican Wayne Williams sporting a Denver Broncos championship shirt.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, right, and his wife Jeanie had some fun when they saw fellow Colorado Springs Republican Wayne Williams sporting a Denver Broncos championship shirt.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams missed today’s Super Bowl parade in Denver, but he got a warm welcome in Washington, D.C., with his Denver Broncos championship T-shirt.

The parade route went right by Williams’ office at 1700 Broadway — he captured a good picture of the orange- and blue-stripe painted on the street for his Facebook page — but he was headed to Washington for the National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference.

After he landed, Williams stopped by all seven congressional offices. In most cases, the representatives had had already headed to the floor for a nighttime vote, but the secretary did manage to catch up with two lawmakers, Republican Ken Buck of Windsor and Republican Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs.

Williams also had a chance to meet Buck’s new chief of staff, Mac Zimmerman, on his first day on the job. Zimmerman grew up in Denver but has lived in Grand Junction and previously worked for Congressmen Scott McInnis and Tom Tancredo, and for state Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry.

Zimmerman once worked with Buck’s previous chief of staff, former state Sen. Greg Brophy.

Miles, mascot of the Denver Broncos, enjoys today's Super Bowl parade in Denver.
Miles, mascot of the Denver Broncos, enjoys today’s Super Bowl parade in Denver.

Politico Katy Atkinson loses her battle with cancer

Political consultant Katy Atkinson.
Political consultant Katy Atkinson.

Political consultant Katy Atkinson, who started out working for Republicans and eventually handled high-profile nonpartisan ballot measures, died today.

Atkinson was a sought-after spokesperson by reporters because she knew Colorado politics and she quickly returned phone calls.

“Katy Atkinson was smart and witty and just a delight to be around,” said Dick Wadhams, the former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and a veteran political consultant. “That’s what made her just a great person to work with in politics. In the most intense situation, she could laugh.”

Atkinson was a Colorado native who attended Wheat Ridge High School and Colorado College, where she graduated in 1978 — the same year she got her start in politics.

“She accomplished quite a bit but her son Randy was her greatest achievement,” said lobbyist Mike Beasley, who visited Atkinson Wednesday in hospice.

Atkinson was diagnosed with brain cancer. She was 59.

Read morePolitico Katy Atkinson loses her battle with cancer