Here’s to the Colorado State Fair

Four Southern Colorado lawmakers on Friday helped introduce their colleagues at the Colorado State Fair legislative barbecue. From left to right, Rep. Don Valdez of La Jara, Sen. Leroy Garcia and Rep. Daneya Esgar, both of Pueblo, and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, and Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, at the Colorado State Fair’s legislative barbecue Friday night in Pueblo. (SOS photo)

One of the best things about late August is back-to-back activities at the Colorado State Fair.

Friday night it was the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce barbecue, which draws lobbyists and legislators, the governor and cabinet members, local school board and city council members and more.

“I love the legislative barbecue each year,” said Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo. “It’s an awesome experience to be able to showcase all that I’m so very proud of in Southern Colorado.

“The chamber never ceases to amaze me at how it draws a who’s who in Colorado to the fair that I love,” she added.

On Tuesday, attention switches to the Denver Rustlers, a group that raises money to buy livestock from kids showing animals at the State Fair.  Members of the bipartisan organization board buses in the metro area and head to the fair for the day.

“Best philanthropic day of the year,” is how Matthew Leebove, Mountain States senior campaign executive at Jewish National Fund, referred to the Rustlers’ rendezvous.

Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Jim Wilson pose with two former state lawmakers who now are on the Colorado State Fair board, Lois Tochtrop and Ron Teck. (SOS photo)

“The highlight for was the Centennial Farm awards,” said Sen. Larry Crowder, referring to the program started under former Gov. Dick Lamm in 1986.

“And everyone was on their best at the legislative barbecue!”

Read moreHere’s to the Colorado State Fair

Club 20 unexpectedly welcomes Wayne Williams

Garfield County Commissioner John Martin and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at Club 20 on Friday in Grand Junction. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams wasn’t scheduled to appear at Club 20’s meeting this weekend, but he apparently crashed the executive board’s session at just the right time.

The influential Western Slope organization on Friday debated the rules to follow when it hosts next year’s September debate for governor, the 3rd Congressional District and other candidates in the region. In the past, third-party candidates have been upset at being shut out; others have been unhappy that third-partiers have been included.

Williams, who had just popped in to say “Hi,” was invited to sit down and answer some questions. He said he believes there are better factors to use for determining debate participation than voter registration, including polling results.

Williams served two terms as an El Paso County commissioner so has a county commissioner so he knows plenty of Club 20 members. One of the first ones he ran into at the Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction was Garfield County Commissioner John Martin, who is serving his sixth term. Club 20 in 2013 presented the prestigious Dan Noble Award to Martin for his “outstanding service to western Colorado.”

Read moreClub 20 unexpectedly welcomes Wayne Williams

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

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams heads way out West

Dolores County Clerk LaRita Randolph points to her great grandfather in this picture of Colorado's county commissioners at a 1941 conference. She found the photo at an antique shop in Springfield and instantly recognized her relative, the one with "big ears and a big nose."
Dolores County Clerk LaRita Randolph points to her great grandfather in this picture of Colorado’s county commissioners at a 1941 conference. Roy West was a Dolores County commissioner. Randolph found the photo at an antique shop in Springfield and instantly recognized her relative, the one with “big ears and a big nose.”

When Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams showed up in remote Dove Creek on Friday morning, folks asked him if he was running for office.

Yes, but not until 2018 when he is seeking a second term. Williams arrived in Dove Creek in 2016 to visit Dolores County Clerk LaRita Randolph and her two staffers as part of his effort to visit all county clerks in their offices.

Her office in the Dolores County Courthouse features a huge picture window and a view of the Abajo or Blue Mountains in Utah — the state line is only eight miles west. Visitors frequently comment on the sight, but there’s not much else to praise about the courthouse, which was constructed in 1953, Randolph said.

“It’s old enough to be crappy but not old enough to be cool looking,” she said. “It’s that mid-century yuck.”

Read moreColorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams heads way out West

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.