Live Blog: 2011 Colorado Capital Conference
Government is a two-way street and that's why I've invited Coloradans from all political backgrounds and viewpoints to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 2011 Colorado Capital Conference, co-sponsored by Colorado Mesa University. With participants ranging from Energy Secretary Stephen Chu to Senator Lisa Murkowski, this conference will be an opportunity for Coloradans from all over the state to meet important decision-makers and share their views.
Unfortunately, I couldn't invite all of Colorado to the conference, so I'm bringing the best parts to you. Watch this blog for updates from the conference and follow the discussion on twitter using the hashtag #COCapConf.
6/17/11 6:30PM ET - Speaker Videos
Sen. Mark Udall
Energy Secretary Steven Chu
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Sen. Rob Portman
6/17/11 12:30PM ET
6/17/11 11:30AM ET - Session Three
President Tim Foster of Colorado Mesa University, which co-hosted the Colorado Capital Conference, takes his turn at the podium. Mesa has been a tremendous partner in getting this group of Coloradans to Washington. It’s been a big year for the school—it has a name change in the works, is shooting for 9,000 enrolled students in the fall, and is now competing with larger universities like CU, CSU and UNC. That doesn’t change Foster’s mission, though: He still wants first and foremost to educate Coloradans, especially first-generation college students, and stresses the importance of the two-year, four-year and graduate programs the university offers.
6/17/11 10:00AM ET - Session Three
Dr. Steven Chu takes time from his busy schedule as Secretary of Energy to speak with conference attendees about the future of energy and job creation.
6/16/11 3:30PM ET - Session Two
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) begins his talk by asking the crowd how much $1 trillion is. The crowd exercise is an attempt to put the nation's $14 trillion debt into perspective. The shocking statistics about the budget are a good way to get everyone energized after lunch.
6/16/11 2:30PM ET - Session Two
Sen. Mark Udall has his normal committee and voting schedule during the conference. Here, his Chief of Staff Mike Sozan pinch hits by taking some questions so Udall can go vote on the Senate floor and return to a committee hearing.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the first speaker, broke the ice by expressing her love for skiing in Colorado, and then conveyed her opinion that our country needs expanded domestic opportunities for clean and renewable energy. During the Q & A portion of Murkowski’s presentation, she was asked about her experience as a female member of the Senate. She replied by saying that only 17 percent of Senate members are women, and encouraged more young female leaders to pursue public office.
“In a population where it is about 50:50 [men to women], if it's truly going to be representative, we need to have more women in elected office; we need to have more minorities in our elected bodies," Murkowski said. "You can't be afraid to take a risk, and I sometimes think that women hesitate to step forward... There's never going to be a convenient time to be in public office, and you just have to accept that, and recognize and accept that risk."
Participants took a quick break before listening to the junior senator from Alaska, Sen. Mark Begich, talk about "transforming the federal government in pockets" through different Senate committees and the importance using social media to keep government transparent and connect constituents to their elected officials.
Later, Udall introduced his fellow senator from Colorado, Sen. Michael Bennet. Bennet is a former school superintendent and a member of the Senate Education Committee. During his remarks, Bennet called for a national debate about the future of our country.
"I am searching for a political conversation in this country that is worthy of our kids and our grandkids," Bennet said, "And we aren't having that right now." He continued by summarizing what he believed Coloradans, and all Americans, are looking for: an innovative economy, an energy policy that breaks dependency on foreign oil, educating children "for the 21st century, not the 19th century," and rationally dealing with the debt deficit.
The final speaker of the first session was Sen. Tom Udall, of New Mexico, who is a close friend and first cousin of Mark Udall. Tom Udall spoke on his efforts to boost domestic renewable energy production. Tom Udall and Mark Udall have partnered in pushing for a national renewable electricity standard that would require utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025.
Next stop is the Library of Congress for lunch.
6/15/11 7:30PM ET
Sen. Mark Udall speaks to conference attendees at a welcome reception co-hosted by the Colorado congressional delegation.
6/15/11 7:10PM ET
Sen. Mark Udall greets Joe Wilson, mayor of Erie, at the Colorado Capital Conference welcome reception.
6/15/11 7:00PM ET
Olivia O'Neil, an intern for Sen. Mark Udall, poses with Purnima Voria, founder and CEO of the Denver-based National U.S.-India Chamber of Commerce.
6/15/11 5:30PM ET
Beautiful day in our nation's capital as guests begin to arrive for the conference.
Julie Mordecai from Alamosa shows off her conference badge after checking in and signing up for the Marine Corps parade at the end of the conference.
Debra Wilcox, a Colorado native, signs up for a Capitol tour. She is a VP for a Colorado start-up company developing bio-fuels for aviation.
6/14/11 6PM ET
Conference attendees will arrive tomorrow. Have a safe flight!
6/14/11 11AM ET
Announcing Colorado Capital Conference Speakers:
- Stephen T. Ayers, Architect of the Capitol
- Senator Mark Begich
- Senator Michael Bennet
- Congressman Eric Cantor
- Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary DOI
- Congressman Jason Chaffetz
- Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy
- Charles E. Cook, Jr., Editor and Publisher, Cook Political Report
- Tim Foster, President, Colorado Mesa University
- Senator Amy Klobuchar
- Senator Mike Lee
- Senator John McCain
- Senator Lisa Murkowski
- Congressman Ed Perlmutter
- Senator Rob Portman
- Col. Laura Richardson, Army
- Dr. Alice Rivlin, Brookings
- Harris Sherman, Under Secretary USDA
- Congressman Scott Tipton
- Senator Mark Udall
- Senator Tom Udall