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Wake-Up Call: The week ahead, December 15-21

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While the Obama cabinet carousel -- Ritter! Salazar (Ken)! Salazar (John)! Michael Bennet! Salazar (Ken, again)! -- continues to go 'round, with a name thrown out each week (although now, with Ken Salazar back in the ring for Interior, we're on repeats) -- Colorado's top Dems will gather at the Governor's Office to help make Obama's win official, as the state's nine presidential electors cast their ballots.

Then it's back to business -- or the lack thereof, which will become more concrete on Friday, when Colorado releases its jobless figures.

But first, the Colorado legislature's Committee on Job Creation and Economic Growth will be meeting at the Capitol all day today, December 15, with Ritter addressing the group at 9:30, followed by Russ George, exec director of the Colorado Department of Transportation; Don Mares, head of the Department of Labor and Employement; and Susan Kirkpatrick, Department of Local Affairs.

On Tuesday, from 7 a.m.-1 p.m., Ritter's office will team with the U.S. Small Business Administration to help small businesses survive the recession. The event includes free, one-on-one, thirty-minute counseling sessions; Ritter will address the group at 9 a.m. For more information, call 303-844-2607 ext. 401, or go to www.score.org.

Also on Tuesday, from 7:30-9 a.m., the Downtown Denver Partnership is hosting "Leading to Survive and Thrive During the Economic Downturn," billed as a practical guide for leaders, at the Denver Athletic Club. For details, go to www.downtowndenver.com. And from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday (someone should get a job coordinating these events, so they don't overlap), the city of Denver and Denver Public Schools will hold an open house for design and construction firms interested in bidding on more than $1 billion of construction projects authorized by voters in 2007 and 2008. For more information, go to www.denvergov.org.

Yes, there's more to fret about than the economy. Tonight's meeting of Denver City Council, for example, when there will be a public hearing on a West Washington Park downzoning proposal (additional information on City Council can be found at www.denvergov.org, too). And tomorrow, Ritter's election task force will hold its last meeting to consider procedures for the Secretary of State's office to adopt for future elections.

Ritter is supposed to appoint a new secretary of state by the end of the month to replace Mike Coffman, who's taking over Tom Tancredo's seat in Congress -- but until that Cabinet carousel stops turning, it's spinning out the choice between finalists Ken Gordon, Bernie Buescher and Andrew Romanoff. If John Salazar leaves his congressional seat, then Buescher, who lost his seat and slot as Colorado Speaker of the House last month, could run for it. If Ken Salazar goes to the cabinet, Andrew Romanoff, the outgoing Speaker, seems a likely pick to replace him in the Senate.

That leaves Ken Gordon -- who ran against Coffman for the seat back in 2006, is so interested in the Secretary of State office's procedures that he works on the election task force, and has never been rumored as heading for D.C. -- Patricia Calhoun


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