A friend of Laurie Steele’s told her she should apply to attend the Colorado Capital Conference in Washington, D.C.
Steele’s friend attended the conference in 2013 and said it was one of the best things she ever did.
Steele, the senior vice-president of Burns Marketing in Johnstown, took her friend up on it and applied for one of 100 spots for the bipartisan conference sponsored by Colorado Mesa University, the University of Colorado and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
When Steele’s husband, Kelly, found out his wife applied, he decided to apply, too. As it turned out, Laurie and Kelly — both Republicans from Windsor — were selected to attend the conference and will be traveling to D.C. on June 17-19.
“I think what they’re trying to do is expose people to all different facets of government and give people an overview of what it’s like to be at the federal government level,” Laurie said.
According to the Colorado Capital Conference brochure, the conference is an opportunity for Colorado residents to interact with the nation’s leaders in Washington, providing insights into how the U.S. government works. The conference is designed to give participants an understanding of the federal legislative process, as well as how to positively effect public policy.
Laurie, 52, and Kelly, 53, a construction manager for Martin Marietta Materials in Fort Collins, will be two of 100 participants from Colorado who represent a diverse cross-section of the state. Participants are responsible for their own airfare and accommodations, plus a non-refundable registration fee. Most meals are covered by the registration fee.
“From my perspective, I work for an ad agency, but on the side I’m on the hospital board of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies and I have been for many years,” Laurie said. “Now, I’m on this statewide board for the University of Colorado Health and I’m starting to see health care from a bigger perspective. Health care is being very affected by Obamacare, and it’s really affecting my life in terms of being on the health care board, and I just think it will be real interesting to kind of see it from a broader perspective.”
Laurie said her husband works with local and state governments for highway and transportation projects.
“He was interested in learning about more facets of government than just transportation,” Laurie said.
A sampling of the conference speakers this year will include Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., 2012 vice presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, former Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and USDA Deputy Secretary Ann Mills.
Last year’s speakers included Jewell, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, Harkin, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, former Sen. Timothy E. Wirth, D-Colo., and other senators from the Republican and Democratic parties.
“When we were both accepted it was just kind of exciting because we are both really interested in it from different perspectives, his is more transportation oriented and mine would be more healthcare oriented,” Laurie said. “I think both of us will see that there’s more to life than just our own industries. I think we’re both fairly involved in northern Colorado. Hopefully, we’ll be able to listen and absorb and think about how it might affect our state and our community.”