Rep. Julie McCluskie selected as next speaker of the Colorado House, bringing Western Slope voice to top job

Jesse Paul
The Colorado Sun
Rep. Julie McCluskie speaks on June 11, 2021 before Gov. Jared Polis signs SB 268, aimed to increase statewide funds per student at the Boettcher Mansion in Denver.
Olivia Sun/ForThe Colorado Sun

State Rep. Julie McCluskie was selected Friday by her Democratic colleagues to serve as the next speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives when the legislature reconvenes next year, bringing a Western Slope voice to one of the top jobs at the Capitol. 

The three top leadership posts in the chamber will be held by women.

McCluskie, who lives in Dillon, was first elected to the House in 2018 and has served on the powerful Joint Budget Committee, most recently as its chairwoman. She was reelected to her third term Tuesday. Her professional background includes stints in communications and human resources.

“The diversity of this body can and should be our strength,” McCluskie told her caucus in asking for their support. “We are a body of urbanites and mountain dwellers, educators, veterans, nurses, lawyers, economists, city council members and entrepreneurs. We are a body rich in racial, ethnic, LGBTQ status, age, and gender. We are not all the same brand of Democrat.”

McCluskie will take over for term-limited House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver, and will oversee a caucus of 46 Democrats. There will be 19 Republicans in the House next year, down from 24 over the past two years after the GOP’s big Election Day defeats

Sixty percent of the state representatives next year will be women.

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