Summit Daily editorial: We endorse Julie McCluskie for House District 61 |

Summit Daily editorial: We endorse Julie McCluskie for House District 61

Julie McCluskie gets it.

The Democratic candidate fully grasps the issues facing Colorado and the communities within House District 61, which includes Summit, Lake and Pitkin counties along with portions of Delta and Gunnison counties.

McCluskie, a Dillon resident, understands that climate change (and its resulting wildfires and drought) is the No. 1 threat to our way of life. She understands that proper education and transportation funding in Colorado is imperative to laying the foundation for a strong future. She understands that the lack of workforce housing and skyrocketing health care costs are hurting mountain town economies like nothing else.

McCluskie currently works as the director of communications for Summit School District. That means she has the expertise to be a champion for teachers and students at the State Capitol. She has also served as communications director for former Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia. That means she understands how the machinery of government works. Additionally, she’s served as board member for the Summit Foundation and Advocates for Victims of Assault, two vital nonprofit groups in Summit County. That tells us she has compassion and a desire to improve her community.

The Summit Daily News believes McCluskie is well prepared to enter the State House and fight for our future. She’s been preparing for this role for her whole professional life.

But she wouldn’t just be representing Summit County in Denver. House District 61 also includes rural and agricultural areas of the Western Slope. We believe she would do her best to represent those communities as well. Traveling from town to town, she’s done to the legwork to better understand the entire district.

McCluskie doesn’t have all the answers, but she’s an eager learner and listener. In a recent interview, our editorial board was impressed with McCluskie’s energy and thoughtfulness.

In contrast, her opponent, Mike Mason, of Cedaredge in Delta, doesn’t believe in climate change. When asked what some of the biggest issues facing Summit County are, he pointed to the lack of certified building inspectors, which in our view doesn’t even crack the top 20. And he doesn’t believe there’s really much of a problem with Interstate 70 mountain corridor — a lifeline for Summit County’s tourism industry.

In Mason’s mind, the central problem to solve is the size of government. Mason, a former engineer, is sincere in his beliefs, but he hasn’t put in the effort to truly come to terms with the challenges at our doorstep.

Julie McCluskie deserves your vote. She is a worthy successor to State Representative Millie Hamner.

The Summit Daily editorial board includes Publisher Meg Boyer, Editor Ben Trollinger, Assistant Editor Susan Gilmore and reporters Sawyer D’Argonne and Deepan Dutta.

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