From the Secretary of State’s office to South Africa

Lizzie Stephani, an intern with the Colorado Secretary of State, and Robert Miller, a former U.S. attorney, at the investiture for Jason Dunn on Dec. 7. (SOS photo)

One of the many joys of my soon-to-be-over job as communications director for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is working with interns, including Lizzie Stephani, who ended her internship in December and then departed for South Africa.

I’ve known very few people who have her curiosity and sense of adventure.

Want to go to Colorado Common Cause’s banquet? The swearing-in for Colorado’s new U.S. attorney Jason Dunn? Will you blog about Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ visit with Baca County Clerk Sharon Dubois and Dolores County Clerk LaRita Randolph? Can you attend the Sabor Latino event with Secretary Wayne Williams? Sure. Yes. I would love to. That will be really interesting, thanks for inviting me.

“Sabor attendee: Secretary Williams cares about our community,” the headline on Stephani’s blog read.

Now Stephani is writing her own blog about her adventures in South Africa.

Julia Sunny and Lizzie Stephani Julia at the Young Catholic Professionals Christmas party in RiNo. (SOS photo)

“I made it to South Africa! After 3 layovers, passing through 3 continents, and a few new friendships along the way, I have arrived. Isn’t it funny how, when you get a new place, you start really thinking about the last one?” she wrote.

“I am so full of gratitude for the people God placed into my life during the past five months I spent in Denver. Thank you to every person who was excited for this trip and offered an encouraging word.”

Stephani also gave a shout out to her immediate supervisor, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, my assistant, Julia Sunny, and to me!

“Lynn always gave me interesting work to do and key blogging experience to support my new blog venture! ” she wrote.

Secretary Williams, “you’ve run a tip-top operation”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, left, with Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, and two SOS staffers, elections director Judd Choate and IT director Trevor Timmons, during Friday’s meeting before the Joint Budget Committee. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams received plenty of praise during his final appearances before two legislative committees, where he highlighted the office’s achievements and challenges.

The El Paso County Republican presented his budget requests to the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee Friday morning, and later in the afternoon he discussed performance plans, regulatory and legislative agendas, and budget requests as part of the SMART Act hearing.

Legislative aide, Michael Templeton, who works for Sen. Lois Court, a Denver Democrat, center, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

“I’ve had the opportunity to work very closely with you and your office on a variety of issues over the years,” Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, and the chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, told Williams.

“I have to say, you’ve run a tip-top operation.”

Lawmakers on the the Joint State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee were equally complimentary later that day.

“I just want to thank you for your years of service to Colorado and the excellent job you’ve done as our secretary of state and how hard I know you’ve worked to be bipartisan as much as you can be,” said Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver.

“That takes a lot to do the kind of work you’ve done and to try to work as hard as you have across the aisle and I absolutely appreciate it, so thank you.”

Read moreSecretary Williams, “you’ve run a tip-top operation”

Secretary of State works to improve lobbying transparency

The Colorado Secretary of State met with lobbyists and others Wednesday to talk about how to improve the SOS’ online system for filing lobbyist disclosures. Front row, left to right, Megan Wagner with Brandeberry McKenna Public Affairs;  Angie Binder with the Colorado Petroleum Association; Mike Beasley and Alec Wagner of 5280 Strategies; and Loren Furman, with the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. Back row, left to right, are three Secretary of State staffers,  Mike Hardin, director of Business and Licensing, Trevor Timmons, information technology director and Gary Zimmerman, chief of staff. Sitting with them is lawyer-lobbyist Mike Feeley. (SOS photo)

A working group of lobbyists and activists who use lobbying data met with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office this week to talk about how to make the reporting process more workable and transparent.

Lobbyists must register with the Secretary of State, and they electronically file information about the clients they work with and other data.

“You’re here because you’re the ones who have to input the information in the system and we don’t want to make it impossible for you to try to do your job,” said Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert.

Read moreSecretary of State works to improve lobbying transparency

All about U — and enjoying life

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert and her wooden U.

A chaise lounge. Wine glasses. A sign to the pool. Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne’s Staiert’s decorated U is totally her.

The state seal was a nice touch, too, considering the Secretary of State has control over the use of the seal. And here’s to the flip flops above the V O T E.

Secretary Wayne Williams is handing out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters that they can participate in the June 26 primary election, but they can only vote one ballot. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

Other staffers also have decorated U’s including myself and Secretary Williams, while some SOS U’s are still in the design stage. (Tim Griesmer, get on it.)

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. They’ve been decorated by lawmakers, county clerks, a former mayor and a former governor. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Governor signs two bills backed by Secretary of State Williams

Gov. John Hickenlooper signs into law two-elections related measures as Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, to the governor’s right, SOS staffers, lobbyists, lawmakers and election activists look on. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Deputy Secretary Suzanne Staiert looked on this week as Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law two bills  that will help to make Colorado’s elections even more accurate, accessible and transparent.

One measure involved updating and changing current election law, while the other concerns voter registration and the criminal justice system.

Williams often reminds Coloradans that when he took office in 2015 he was told that because the Senate was controlled by Republicans and the House by Democrats he would have a hard time getting anything through the split legislature. Instead, a majority of the legislation his office has worked on or testified on behalf of has passed.

“I think we continue to dispel the myth,” the secretary said, “that election issues have to be partisan and, yes, you can get things done.”

Here’s a look at the two bills signed Tuesday:

Read moreGovernor signs two bills backed by Secretary of State Williams