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K Street Files: The Windy City — This Week

While Chicago might be the full-time Windy City, Denver is borrowing the nickname.

[IMGCAP(1)]An event Monday at the Denver Sculpture Garden that was part of the Green Frontier Festival featured several different alternative energy sources, including solar and the Xcel Energy’s smart-grid trailer.

But the biggest attraction was a 130-foot wind turbine blade, which will be the backdrop of a press conference Wednesday with Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar (D) and Gov. Bill Ritter (D), among others. They will announce that the wind company Vertas is opening three new manufacturing facilities in Colorado.

Both the wind turbine and Xcel’s smart- grid trailer will be headed to Minnesota for the Republican National Convention. But it wasn’t all Washington insiders or big business displaying their wares. Two Colorado natives, Mary Carhartt and Patty Roberts, lobbied the host committee to allow them to showcase solar cooking. “Most people are unaware of

the technology,” Carhartt said while handing out cookies baked on a solar oven.

Aiding HIV/AIDS. Actor Danny Glover, sporting a pinstriped suit and a Martin Luther King Jr. T-shirt, added some Hollywood celebrity to an event Monday afternoon honoring 26 Members of Congress for their work fighting HIV/AIDS.

The luncheon took place in a basement banquet room in downtown Denver’s Monaco hotel and was sponsored by the Global AIDS Alliance Fund and the AIDS Action Council.

Drawing on presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) campaign slogan, Glover told the crowd of 100-plus, “The theme of this week is change.” And he concluded his remarks with a standing ovation by saying, “Let the change include a world without AIDS.”

Glover, who is chairman of the TransAfrica Forum, said his brother has lived with AIDS since the 1990s. “The AIDS epidemic isn’t about some other time … some other people … it’s about my brother and your sister.”

Several of the Members who were honored at the luncheon attended and spoke after Glover.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told the group that in order to combat AIDS with additional governmental funding and without such policy constraints as abstinence-only prevention programs, Democrats need 60 seats in the Senate. “When it comes to the Senate, 60 is the new 50,” she said.

Event organizer Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance Fund, said his group works with Members of both parties and plans to attend the GOP convention next week in St. Paul, Minn. But, he said, on HIV/AIDS, “the drivers for change are in the Democratic party.”

Other Congressional honorees who attended included Del. Donna Christian-Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) and Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.), Betty McCollum (Minn.), Donald Payne (N.J.) and Maxine Waters (Calif.).

Realtors Push Forward. The housing crush may have put a damper on most realtors’ business, but that hasn’t stopped the National Association of Realtors from putting its best foot forward at the Democratic National Convention.

The realtors, along with the Creative Coalition, hosted a luncheon Monday at the LoDo Bar for about 110 people. It was the first event of the week for the group, and the realtors association doled out $10,000 to the Colorado foreclosure hotline, which deputy chief NAR lobbyist Jamie Gregory says has helped about 2,000 homeowners a month on the verge of foreclosure.

The event is part of the larger goal of making housing issues come “front and center,” said Gregory, who at last count had 55 delegates who spent their day job as realtors.

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