A second Western Slope lawmaker has been named to the Colorado Legislature’s powerful Joint Budget Committee.

Rep. Julie McCluskie, a Dillon Democrat whose district includes the eastern half of Delta County, was named Tuesday to the six-member committee that drafts the state’s annual budget. She joins Sen. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, on that panel.

The first-term legislator replaces Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, who was recently appointed to fill a vacancy in the Colorado Senate after the resignation of Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver.

“I am committed to working across the aisle to develop a budget that prioritizes our schools and teachers, expands access to affordable housing and helps lower the cost of health care for Coloradans,” she said.

McCluskie’s appointment to the JBC will leave an opening on the coveted House Rural Affairs & Agriculture Committee, which already has three other Western Slope lawmakers: Republican Reps. Perry Will of New Castle and Marc Catlin of Montrose. Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, serves as its chairman.

McCluskie also will give up her seat on the House Education Committee, but will retain her position on the House Appropriations Committee.

The JBC is made up of three members each from the House and Senate, spending all of its time drafting the state’s spending plan for the ensuing fiscal year, which begin on July 1. As a result, other lawmakers, lobbyists, state agencies and other special interest groups constantly approach them to get funding.

House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder, said she appointed McCluskie to the JBC because of her history of working with all members of the Legislature, regardless of political affiliation.

“Representative McCluskie has earned the trust of her colleagues with her strong work ethic, dedication to detail and bipartisan approach to legislating,” Becker said. “Budget writers will face new challenges for the upcoming year, and I am confident that Representative McCluskie is ready to join her colleagues in handling these challenges and crafting a budget that reflects the priorities of all of Colorado.”

Before being elected to the Legislature in 2018, McCluskie spent more than a decade working for the Summit School District as a strategic communications specialist. She also served as director of communications for former. Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia during former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s first term in office.

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