(Dillon, CO – Nov. 3, 2020) -Voters of House District 61 have re-elected Julie McCluskie to the Colorado House of Representatives. McCluskie was first elected to the seat in November 2018.
“Tonight’s outcome is a victory for the working people and families who care about protecting our Colorado way of life. Coloradans expect bold leadership and demand that we tackle tough issues with honesty and integrity. Our win speaks to these values and to the priorities so many of us share for protecting public lands, air and water; for providing access to high-quality health care and for making sure every child is on a path to a successful life with a world class public education.
It is a tremendous honor to once again earn the confidence of voters in this district. I am committed to bipartisanship in tackling Colorado’s challenges and to making sure state government serves all of us in fair and equitable ways. Now more than ever, I believe serving the public means listening and learning from constituents and representing their hopes for better opportunities to lead happy, productive lives.
My heart is filled with gratitude for my family, campaign staff, volunteers, and voters who have been a part of this year’s campaign. This is a moment of celebration for all of us.”
McCluskie has served on the Education, Rural Affairs & Agriculture, Wildfire Matters, Early Childhood and School Readiness and School Finance committees during her first term. She was appointed to the Joint Budget Committee and Chair of Appropriations this past session. Her notable accomplishments include passing the Reinsurance Program and Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise, expanding the Wildfire Mitigation Grant program, and numerous early childhood education bills, including referring Proposition EE to voters for universal preschool funding. Providing economic stimulus and recovery support, taking care of the working people and families hardest hit by the pandemic and stabilizing the state’s budget are her top priorities into her second term.
For press inquiries, please contact Karen Mason, KJM Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (970) 485-2557.
Life has been moving fast since we adjourned Sine Die on June 16 for the last day of the 2020 Legislative Session! The 2020 legislative session was unlike any other session before it. From an unprecedented global health emergency and the dire budget consequences we faced, to the chaotic flashpoint of a centuries-long struggle for justice taking place outside of the Capitol, we’ve had everything but business as usual at the General Assembly this year. I am proud of how the House of Representatives rose to the occasion and worked to pass responsible laws to protect the health and safety of hardworking Coloradans and get our state back on track to a full economic recovery.
Here are a few of the highlights from this exceptional legislative session:
- The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented $3.3 billion state budget shortfall. As the newest of the six members of the Joint Budget Committee, I’m proud to say we took our responsibilities seriously in crafting Colorado’s budget. We spent weeks agonizing over very difficult funding decisions while we prioritized resources for public schools, higher education and critical health and safety services. For a complete overview of the long bill, including the funding narrative and state agency budgets, click here.
- We put together a package of COVID-19 Relief bills that provide small business loans & grants, housing, food and utility assistance, paid sick leave, and expanded unemployment insurance.
- We expanded access to health care and put the reinsurance program on a sustainable funding path for the next five years with (SB20-215);
- With (HB20-1427), we referred a nicotine tax measure to the ballot that would generate revenue for public schools, particularly small, rural school districts, for the next three years, and then provide funding for a statewide early childhood education program for all 4-year-olds in Colorado!
- We empowered local communities in accessing grants for rural broadband (HB20-1137); strengthened the rights of mobile home owners (HB20-1196); ensured lower wealth communities had access to wildfire mitigation funds (HB20-1057); modernized Colorado’s 9-1-1 emergency notification system (HB20-1293) and established an early childhood mental health consultation system in statute for the first time in our history (HB20-1053).
- Visit leg.colorado.gov for a complete look at all of the bills from the session!
Since returning home, I’ve had time to catch up with constituents in House District 61, better understand the challenges facing the hardworking people of the high country, and reflect on the cries for social justice heard from every corner of our country. While members of the general assembly were able to work effectively during a constrained session to pass some rather significant legislation, it is clear we have a great deal more to do for the hardworking people of this state.
I praise Coloradans for putting the health and safety of one another first by wearing masks, socially distancing and staying home when possible. I celebrate the ingenuity and resiliency of my neighbors and friends during these difficult times; and I commend all of you who are supporting your own families and then sharing your time, talent and treasure with those less fortunate. We are Colorado Strong!
It is with all this in mind that I proudly share my hope to continue as your State Representative and ask for your support as I hit the campaign trail in search of re-election in November 2020! I need your help to win this seat and here’s what you can do:
- Please take a moment to share your support – share this website with your networks, or tag me on social media at @McCluskieforCO (FB, Twitter, Instagram)
- Join our campaign volunteer kick-off Monday, July 20 at 5pm on Zoom! Click here to RSVP and we’ll send you the link.
- Click Here to Make a Donation Today! We know that times are hard for many of us, but if you’re in a position to donate please consider giving to our campaign. Anything you can contribute helps us connect with voters and share our message for protecting our Colorado way of life.
Warm Summer Wishes for you and your family, Julie
Update from the Office of Gov. Polis, June 26, 2020: Determining Level of Risk During COVID-19
Colorado has been making great progress against this virus, and we’re faring better than certain neighboring states and many states around the country. Our progress is a testament to the people of this state continuing to wear masks, keep distance, protect vulnerable populations and exercise good judgment.
However, new outbreaks are beginning to emerge in the San Luis Valley, El Paso, Boulder, and San Miguel Counties, and we are monitoring Eagle County closely as well. These spikes serve as a reminder to us all that this pandemic can turn around very quickly, if we do not take precautions to continue flattening the curve.
There is only so much that any government can do. We all have to take personal responsibility and consider the level of risk when participating in certain activities. It is also important that we keep our guard up as we approach Independence Day and the weather continues to get warmer.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before participating in group activities:
- How many other people will be participating in this activity?
- Is the activity outside?
- Can I put distance between myself and others?
- How long will the activity take?
- Do I feel 100% healthy?
- How will I get there? Biking, walking, driving in a car are safer than public transportation.
- Do I live with someone who is more vulnerable to COVID-19, and would be at high risk if I happened to bring the virus home?
- What is the value of this activity to me versus the risk I am taking?
Group activity risk levels:
- Activities such as camping, hiking, biking, outdoor exercise and activities and shopping outdoors at a farmer’s market are fairly Low Risk activities
- Activities such as dining out, playing on the playground, shopping indoors, visiting a swimming pool are Medium Risk activities.
- Activities like airline travel, concerts, attending worship services in-person, personal services, bars, gyms, large gatherings are High Risk activities.
In order to minimize risk, please exercise personal responsibility, use common sense, and err on the side of caution. Visit covid19.colorado.gov/risks-benefits for more information about how we can continue to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy.
Highlights and Accomplishments
The 2020 legislative session was unlike any other session before it. From an unprecedented global health emergency and the dire budget consequences we faced, to the chaotic flashpoint of a centuries-long struggle for justice taking place outside of the Capitol, we’ve had everything but business as usual at the General Assembly this year.
I am proud of how the House of Representatives rose to the occasion and worked to pass responsible laws to protect the health and safety of hardworking Coloradans and get our state back on track to a full economic recovery.
The Long Bill…better known as the State Budget
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented $3.3 billion state budget shortfall. As the newest of the six members of the Joint Budget Committee, I’m proud to say we took our responsibilities seriously in crafting Colorado’s budget. We spent weeks agonizing over very difficult funding decisions while we prioritized resources for public schools, higher education and critical health and safety services. For a complete overview of the long bill, including the funding narrative and state agency budgets, click here.
COVID-19 Relief Package
While I was busy with the State’s budget, my colleagues were busy responding to the needs of the hardworking people of Colorado. They put together a robust package of relief bills aiming to provide safety net services and spark a sputtering economy. Here’s the list of bills we consider to be a part of the COVID-19 Relief Package:
Small Business Recovery Loans – HB20-1413 — Reps. Shannon Bird and Lisa Cutter
Small Business Grant Program – SB20-222 — Reps. Mary Young and Perry Will
Coronavirus Relief Funds for Housing Assistance – HB20-1410 — Reps. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez and Tony Exum, Sr.
Coronavirus Relief Funds for Utility Assistance – HB20-1412 — Reps. Chris Kennedy and Lisa Cutter
Coronavirus Relief Funds for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Programs – HB20-1411 — Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Tracy Kraft-Tharp
Earned Sick Leave for Employees – SB20-205 — Speaker KC Becker and Rep. Yadira Caraveo
Expand Unemployment Insurance – SB20-207 — Reps. Matt Gray and Tom Sullivan;
SB20-170— Reps. Dominique Jackson and Monica Duran
Protections Against Price Gouging – HB20-1414 — Reps. Mike Weissman and Brianna Titone
Whistleblower Protection for Public Health Emergencies – HB20-1415 — Reps. Leslie Herod and Tom Sullivan
Limitations on Extraordinary Debt Collection – SB20-211 — Rep. Leslie Herod
2-1-1 Statewide Human Services Referral System – HB20-1197 — Reps. Marc Snyder and Janice Rich
Food Pantry Assistance – HB20-1422 — Reps. Daneya Esgar and Lisa Cutter
Telehealth Services Expansion – SB20-212 — Reps. Susan Lontine and Matt Soper
Extend Restaurant Takeout & Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages – SB20-213 — Reps. Dylan Roberts and Colin Larson
Cigarette, Tobacco and Nicotine Products Tax
HB20-1427 — Reps. Julie McCluskie and Yadira Caraveo
This bill refers a measure to voters in November 2020 that would raise taxes on cigarettes, tobacco and for the first time, apply a tax on nicotine vaping products that is equal to that placed on tobacco. In the first two and a half years, the resulting revenue would provide resources to public schools with additional funding directed to rural schools. After that initial period, the revenue would be devoted to nicotine education and cessation programs and toward giving every child in Colorado access to early childhood education.
Expanding Health Insurance Affordability
SB20-215 — Reps. Chris Kennedy and Julie McCluskie
With Coloradans facing some of the highest health insurance costs in the country, Democrats have prioritized saving people money on their care. The Reinsurance program has lowered premiums by thousands of dollars for families across the state. The program has been an effective way to offset high-cost health care claims in order to lower premiums for consumers in the individual market. This bill establishes a sustainable funding structure to extend the Reinsurance program for an additional 5 years, and expand coverage for undocumented people and those caught in the family glitch.
Higher Education Funding Allocation Model
HB20-1366 — Reps. Julie McCluskie and Daneya Esgar
Colorado’s Institutions of Higher Learning came together to create a funding allocation model that supports Colorado’s goals to see 66% or more adults earn a postsecondary credential, eliminate equity gaps and support student success. This new funding formula ensures smaller and rural colleges and universities receive additional funding support.
Emergency Telephone Service Charges – NextGen 9-1-1
HB20-1293 — Reps. Julie McCluskie and Rod Pelton
Nothing is more important than access to emergency services during a crisis. This legislation provides the resources for all 9-1-1 call centers in the state, particularly in rural Colorado, to migrate to the next level of technology, and ensure more accurate and timely responses during an emergency.
Rights for Mobile Home Park Residents
HB20-1196 – -Reps. Edie Hooton and Julie McCluskie
This bill further strengthens tenants’ rights by preventing park owners from retaliating against residents for filing a complaint, and prohibits them from removing residents from their homes over minor violations. It requires transparency in utility billing and secures a right to tenant privacy by requiring owners to give notice and obtain consent before entering.
Broadband for Small Rural Communities
HB20-1137 — Reps. Julie McCluskie and Matt Soper
At a time when many Colorado students are learning at home, and even more families are working at home, access to reliable internet has never been more important. This bill offers a more efficient way to determine an “unserved area” and help small rural communities get the resources they need to develop and deploy critical broadband technology.
Allowing PERA Retirees to Work after Retirement Limit for BOCES
HB20-1127 — Reps. Julie McCluskie and Barbara McLachlan
This bill will allow retired educators an opportunity to work for school districts in rural Colorado while retaining their retirement benefits – a win/win for retirees, educators and students!
County Licensing Authority for Short-Term Rentals
HB20-1093— Reps. Julie McCluskie and Jim Wilson
The short-term rental market has exploded in rural resort communities. This bill gives county authorities a chance to license and regulate short-term lodging rentals. This ensures fewer issues with trash, noise, parking and sewer problems.
Eligibility Expansion for Wildfire Grants
HB20-1057 — Reps. Julie McCluskie and Terri Carver
Rural communities in Colorado are at high risk for wildfires. This bill changes the program to ensure that lower wealth communities in greater need of wildfire mitigation assistance can take advantage of these grants.
Early Childhood Workforce, Mental Health Consultation and High-Quality
HB20-1053 — Reps. Emily Sirota and Jim Wilson
When the world hands you lemons, make lemonade!! I was honored to carry HB20-1006 and HB20-1016 – two early childhood bills that would have brought an evidence-based mental health consultation system to our state and opportunities for improving the quality of all early childhood care and learning centers. But a pandemic threw a wrench into that plan. In the end, we were able to incorporate both of my bills into an excellent early childhood workforce support bill. While we were unable to fund these efforts at the levels we hoped, I am confident we will prioritize this funding when our economy rebounds.
For a more in-depth overview of the 2020 Legislative Session, click here.
The first session of the 72nd General Assembly of the Colorado House of Representatives adjourned for the year on Friday, May 3, 2019 with enthusiastic applause for one of the most successful and transformative sessions in recent memory.
Our legislative body is diverse in backgrounds, experiences and ideals. It’s in the recognition and honor of these differences that we were able to find common ground and solve problems for the people we serve. Of the 23 bills I carried my first session, I am proud that I had a Republican co-sponsor on 11 of them. To my friends on both sides of the aisle, thank you for your partnership. It has been my privilege to serve with you.
I am proud to say we delivered on promises to support working families and to protect our Colorado way of life. This includes the passage of significant policies in health care, education, climate action, affordable housing and so much more:
In HEALTH CARE,…we are dramatically reducing insurance premiums on the individual market with the passage of my reinsurance bill, increasing transparency for health care costs in Colorado’s hospitals, prohibiting surprise out-of-network billing, and reducing the price of insulin. We are creating a pathway for an affordable and competitive public health care option and health care co-ops in the state of Colorado that will be available to families and individuals when purchasing health insurance.
In EDUCATION,…we are bringing fully funded full-day kindergarten to every community in the state, investing in early childhood literacy with the renewal of the READ Act, and expanding opportunities for high school students to earn college credits through concurrent enrollment programs across Colorado. Additionally, the legislature went outside the school finance formula and reduced the budget stabilization factor by $100 million and secured $20 million in one-time funding for rural schools. For more on our accomplishments in education, read this great article from Chalkbeat.
In CLIMATE ACTION,…we are putting pollution reduction goals into statute to reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas pollution by 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050 of 2005 levels. We also are increasing the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) oversight authority, strengthening protections for consumers, prioritizing safety, and reducing carbon pollution for our state’s largest power company. We’re moving Colorado forward while ensuring workers and communities dependent on the fossil fuel industry are not left behind as the state transitions to a cleaner economy. We are updating Colorado’s antiquated oil and gas laws to put health and safety first by increasing local government authority over oil and gas development and empowering affected communities to protect our air and water.
In AFFORDABLE HOUSING,…we are investing nearly $156 million in housing over the next three years by expanding the existing Affordable Housing Income Tax Credit from $5 million to $10 million, directing $30 million annually (starting in 2020-21) from the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund for three years ($90 million total), and investing $8 million to housing needs in the first two years ($16 million total) and then $45-50 million annually thereafter from a statutory change in the administration of the state’s vendor fee. I am particularly proud of two bills I co-sponsored – the creation of an Eviction Legal Defense Fund for low-income Coloradans who face eviction, and The Mobile Home Park Oversight Act which expands county authority and creates a conflict resolution process for aggrieved mobile home owners.
We passed legislation allowing local governments to adjust their minimum wage, and we proudly passed an “equal pay for equal work” bill ensuring women earn the same as their male counterparts. We passed life-saving gun legislation, expanded access to existing broadband infrastructure throughout rural Colorado, and took one step closer to making sure every Coloradan has a retirement savings plan.
It’s been a remarkable and exciting session, but the work continues. I’ll be traveling House District 61 in the months ahead and look forward to connecting with the good people of the Western Slope. It’s an honor and privilege to serve!