Democratic state Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet will replace outgoing state Sen. Dominick Moreno at the Capitol.
Michaelson Jenet will represent Senate District 21, which includes Commerce City, Federal Heights, and parts of unincorporated Adams County. She was selected by a vacancy committee Thursday evening. She faced Adams 14 school district member and activist Lucy Molina.
She will join a near supermajority of Democrats in the state Senate. Democrats hold trifecta control of state government, with a supermajority in the state House of Representatives and the governor’s office. Michaelson Jenet highlighted her work at the Capitol, including on youth diversion services, school meals and anti-suicide initiatives. She named housing as the biggest challenge facing the district.
“The legislature needs to take quick, swift action to help build in our communities true affordable housing,” Michaelson Jenet said. “But this needs to not happen in a silo. It needs to happen together with our counties, together with our cities, because everybody has a voice at this table around building affordable housing.”
Moreno, who had one year left on his term, nominated Michaelson Jenet at the vacancy committee to replace him. He is leaving his post to join Denver Mayor Mike Johnston’s administration. He served as the Senate Majority Leader, the No. 2 job in the chamber. Senate Democrats will meet in coming weeks to pick another member to serve in that leadership position.
“I’m going to be very excited for my friend, Dafna Michaelson Jenet, to succeed me in the state Senate,” Moreno said. “She has been a champion on child welfare and youth mental health issues, and I think she’s going to carry on her important work in the state Senate.”
Michaelson Jenet had previously announced her intent to run for Moreno’s seat. She was first elected to the state House in 2016. She won reelection in November by more than 10 percentage points. She was term-limited from seeking the seat again. The Senate seat will be up for election in 2024. Republican Frederick Alfred has also filed to run for it.
A vacancy committee will choose Michaelson Jenet’s replacement. Attorney Manny Rutinel, a Democrat, had previously filed to run for the seat currently held by Michaelson Jenet.
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