Julie McCluskie reelected as Colorado House District 61 representative

Democratic incumbent Julie McCluskie has been reelected in state House District 61.
Photo from Julie McCluskie

DILLON — Julie McCluskie has been reelected to serve a second term as the representative for Colorado House District 61, which includes Delta, Gunnison, Lake, Pitkin and Summit counties. 

Election results show McCluskie, a Democrat, leading her Republican opponent Kim McGahey with 60.6% of the vote. McCluskie received 68.2% of the vote in Summit County.

“I am thrilled, excited, honored to earn the confidence of House District 61 voters,” McCluskie said Tuesday night. “This means so much to me, but I really want to emphasize this is about our communities, this is about working families, this is about the people that I represent. … While I am deeply honored, I know that we’re in a very difficult moment in our state and our nation, and we have work to do.”

The first item on McCluskie’s agenda is the state budget. As a member of the Joint Budget Committee, McCluskie will meet with members next week to review the newly released budget proposal and economic response to the pandemic. On election night, McCluskie said she is committed to working in a bipartisan way at the Capitol and equally committed to those who did and did not vote for her.

McCluskie attended Colorado State University and lives in Summit County’s Summit Cove with her family. She campaigned on her work on health care, education and climate change, and promised to continue working in these areas in addition to addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My priorities for the coming legislative session continue to be supporting a robust response to this public health emergency and feeding the state’s economic engine,” McCluskie said in a guest commentary she submitted to the Summit Daily News

Elected in 2018, McCluskie took office in January 2019 for her first term. During the 2019 legislative session, she was a prime sponsor of the reinsurance program, which lowered insurance premiums for most people purchasing on the individual marketplace. The program was created in 2019 and a funding source was secured in 2020 to extend the program for five years. 

McCluskie also sponsored a bill supporting free full-day kindergarten, carried a higher-education funding bill and was a co-sponsor of the climate action plan, a bill that sets statewide goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, McCluskie served on the 2020 Joint Budget Committee, which she said worked to protect essential social services amid $3.3 billion in cuts.

In her second term, McCluskie said she will continue her work on health care by protecting funding for community and family care clinics, school-based health centers and rural health care providers as well as investing in mental health services and increasing prescription drug pricing transparency.

On the education front, McCluskie plans to create a more equitable school finance formula that prioritizes student needs in the funding process. She said efforts to pay teachers and other school staff livable wages must continue. McCluskie also said she is committed to funding Colorado’s water plan, as budget cuts to the plan were made this year.

McCluskie’s opponent, McGahey, ran on a platform of being a conservative voice for the Western Slope. A University of Mount Union graduate, real estate broker and Breckenridge resident, McGahey wanted to bring “common sense” to the Capitol and prioritize defending police, protecting First and Second Amendment rights, promoting quality health care and curtailing the emergency powers of the governor. 

Sharing concerns about Denver riots in his guest commentary submission, McGahey called on House District 61 residents to vote for him if they wanted to see law and order, safety and individual liberty protection. McGahey also advocated for the immediate reopening of the economy and getting people back to work, school and church.

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