Julie McCluskie wins Colorado House District 61 seat

(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: or call (970) 485-2557.

Wrapping up the 2020 Legislative Session and Hitting the Campaign Trail!

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 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:

Warm Summer Wishes for you and your family,  Julie

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response and Update – Safer at Home Order

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 for more information about how we can continue to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy.

The 2020 Legislative Session

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

My Legislation

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.

A Look Back at the 2019 Legislative Session,…


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!

2020 Legislative Session – A Seat at the Table…May 2020

I returned to the State Capitol in early May with my fellow members of the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) and began the painful task of dismantling months of hard work on the state’s budget. Crafting a balanced budget meant accepting the May 2020 updated forecast which indicates an unimaginable general fund revenue shortfall of nearly -3.3 billion dollars or a whopping 25% reduction from fiscal year 2019-20. To put things in perspective, this impact is nearly 2.5 times as large as the financial downturn in 2008 after the Great Recession.

Given these tough times, I’ve been asked if I regret my appointment in January to the JBC.  It’s been a roller coaster ride, for sure. We’ve moved from a thriving economy where we had an opportunity to make greater investments in public schools, higher education and transportation to a barren fiscal landscape requiring significant cuts and reductions to essential services, safety net programs and so much more.

Yet as challenging as these reductions have been, I can’t imagine trading my seat at the table and giving up my chance to fight for our high country values and Western Slope priorities.

In committee meetings, I’ve been advocating for accessible health care by protecting funding for our community health clinics and preserving our second year of reinsurance savings. I raised my voice in support of getting our economy back up and running by maintaining funding for Colorado tourism, marketing for our agricultural industry, and maintaining rural economic development grants. We’re continuing our fight for climate action by maintaining investments in the public safety and welfare measures we passed for oil and gas development. And while we’ve made some difficult reductions to health and human services, we worked hard to preserve critically important funding for housing, food, child care, and other safety net assistance programs.

Our reductions to public schools and higher education have been the most painful. We combed through every department, leaving no stone unturned, all to try and protect our investments in education.  And while Federal CARES Act money can not be used to backfill these reductions, I am pleased to see that local schools, colleges and universities are receiving this support to help them offset COVID19 impacts.  Never before has it been more critical to find a sustainable, ongoing funding source for public education!

For a deeper dive on the proposed 2020-2021 Budget, check out this article from The Colorado Sun. 

#JusticeforGeorgeFloyd Protests and Vandalism at the Capitol

After days of protests, tear gas and vandalism, it is clear that pain is walking the streets of our cities. Raw, exposed nerves; throbbing emotions pumping in raised fists; anger gushing into the space between the dramatically different lived experiences of white and black America.

This pain showed up as broken windows and graffiti at our State Capitol.  I am hurt by the desecration of the monuments erected on these grounds. The Capitol is a symbol of our democracy, a place for all people, a place of history and of hope. This is the sacred place where we make right what is wrong in the world.

I’ve been asked if I support the protests and that is not the question I want to answer. Without hesitation, yes, I support our rights to peaceful protests, freedom of speech and marches for justice. But more importantly, we need to respond to the “why” these demonstrations are happening in the first place. These protests are a manifestation of the extraordinary pain felt by communities of color who cry for justice, not just in response to the death of #GeorgeFloyd, but to the white privilege embedded in our institutions and laws.

My voice seems small and unworthy at this moment, but I raise it in support of the those fighting social injustice, racism and bigotry. I raise it in support of my colleagues in the House of Representatives who ask me to stand beside them as they lead the way to a more just Colorado. 

Photo from State Representative Susan Lontine

Safer at Home means staying home whenever possible for the health and safety of your family, friends and loved ones.

Safer at Home means staying home whenever possible for the health and safety of your family, friends and loved ones.  We are turning the corner and beginning to transition back to a new normal. 

Effective June 18, 2020:

  • Residential summer camps may open with groups of 10 kids indoors, 25 kids outdoors, similar to day camps. Camps are encouraged to divide campers into groups and limit contact between those groups in order to limit potential COVID-19 spread and make contact tracing easier.
  • Indoor events (conferences, receptions, museums) can begin to open — these vary based on the size of the venue:
    • Regular sized rooms under 5,650 square feet may open up to 25% capacity or 50 people per room for rooms, whichever is fewer.
    • In large rooms, where you could have an even bigger radius — a 6ft radius, around each person — rooms over 5,650 square feet may open to 25% capacity or up to 75 people per room, whichever is fewer.
    • And then in rooms DOUBLE that size — extra large rooms with over 11,300 square feet — may open to 25% capacity, or up to 100 people per room, whichever is fewer.
    • Extra large venue distinctions will also apply to restaurants, houses of worship, life rights, and higher education — which are activities that are quite similar in nature.
  • Outdoor events (concerts, fairs, rodeos, receptions) can also begin to open:
    • Standard venues under 5,650 square feet may open up to 50% capacity or up to 50 people
    • Large venues over 5,650 square feet may open up to 50% capacity or up to 125 people
    • Extra large venues, over 11,300 square feet can open up to 50% capacity or up to 175 people
  • Bars will be able to open at 25% or up to 50 people indoors, but must follow the same guidelines as restaurants where parties are seating, limited in size, and things like games that encourage mingling are not allowed. Outdoors parties must be spaced 6ft apart, up to local capacity limits.
  • Personal services will be able to expand to include things like facials, beard trimming, lip waxing, etc. where the client has to take off a mask — these services are permitted if the worker has adequate protection.
  • Non-critical manufacturing facilities can expand in-person workforce up to 50% or 50 people per room.

To read the full guidelines online, please visit

Some Counties in the high country may be continuing with additional restrictions beyond the Safer at Home Order.  For more information on your community guidance visit:

COVID-19 webpage —
The State of Colorado recently unveiled the new COVID-19 webpage — resource will keep you up-to-date on the latest statistics and the latest guidance on how we can protect ourselves and protect our most vulnerable populations.   Three Stages of State’s Response of COVID-19

Standing with Colorado’s Farmers and Ranchers
I am proud to stand with 127 of my colleagues from 34 states calling on Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to take immediate action to support Colorado’s local farmers and ranchers.  Our food producers have been working tirelessly to feed their neighbors, yet they are in need of critical COVID-19 aid that they are not getting.  We can not have a local food system without our local farmers and ranchers.

Colorado is No Place for Hate
I am proud to stand with my colleagues and call for an end to the racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry we see during this pandemic. You can read a full copy of our letter here. Interested in joining us and supporting this message?  Sign on Here.

Have extra time on your hands? Fill out your 2020 Census form today!
Our state receives funding from the Federal government based on our population. Now during a pandemic, it’s important we account for every individual in our state. Take 10 minutes to fill out the form, because COLORADO COUNTS!

Federal Loan Assistance for Colorado’s Small Businesses
Colorado small businesses throughout all 64 counties impacted by COVID-19 can seek individual small business loans up to $2M as part of the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans assistance provides low-interest federal loans for working capital to Colorado small businesses that have realized economic injury from COVID-19. Funding was appropriated through the US congressional Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. Small businesses, private non-profit organizations, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises impacted by COVID-19 can seek federal loans to pay key needs such as fixed debts, payroll, and accounts payable.

Eligibility information, loan application links and emerging economic recovery resources can all be found at Practices

The best thing you can do right now is encourage your family and friends to stay home. This will help reduce the spread. Also, practice good hygiene and social distancing in order to keep yourself and others safe — especially vulnerable populations like older Coloradans and those with underlying health conditions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice social distancing from others — at least six feet apart.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick and keep your children home if they are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • If someone at your home is sick, avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Choose a  separate room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy.  Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible. Plan to clean these rooms as needed when someone is sick. All of these ways of preventing the spread of CO-VID 19 are also effective in preventing the transmission of the flu or seasonal colds. Smart hygiene practices make us all healthier. ____________________________________________________