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Democratic incumbent Julie McCluskie is expected to be reelected in state House District 61.
Photo from Julie McCluskie

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

Based on early election results, McCluskie, a Democrat, leads her Republican opponent Kim McGahey with 61% of the vote. McCluskie received 69.7% of the Summit County vote.

McCluskie attended Colorado State University and lives in Summit County’s Summit Cove with her family. She campaigned on her work in 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. McCluskie served as a member of 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 who want to see law and order, safety and individual liberty protection to vote for him. McGahey also advocated for the immediate reopening of the economy and getting people back to work, school and church.

This content was originally published here.