(Sept. 19) – Rep. Jenise May (D-Aurora) is the newest member of the powerful Joint Budget Committee, Speaker Mark Ferrandino announced today.

Rep. May replaces Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder), who announced a week ago that she will be leaving the legislature to become executive director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a research and advocacy group.

“A JBC member has to enjoy getting neck-deep in the details of government,” said Speaker Ferrandino, a former JBC member and White House budget analyst. “Claire’s shoes are hard to fill, but I’m appointing Jenise because she has the best combination of experience and temperament to get the job done. I’m confident she’ll be a strong advocate for all of Colorado.”

Rep. May has more than 25 years in public service. She was deputy director of the Colorado Department of Human Services, overseeing more than 2,000 DHS employees and managing a budget of more than $1 billion. Having managed several crisis responses at DHS, including the Windsor tornado in 2008, her experience will be valuable as the JBC deals with the aftermath of last week’s floods.

She was elected in 2012 to House District 30, which has substantial rural areas, stretching from northern Aurora into the farmland of Adams County east of Denver International Airport and back into parts of Commerce City and Thornton. She’s a fourth-generation Coloradan on both sides of her family; her dad has roots in northeastern Colorado around Sterling, and her mom’s side is from north Denver.

“I appreciate the Speaker’s confidence in me,” Rep. May said. “The JBC’s job is to make sure Colorado taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely and without waste, and I take this responsibility very seriously. I’ve visited every county in the state and look forward to applying what I’ve learned and bringing a balanced approach to the budgeting process.”

Her appointment is effective immediately. The JBC meets year-round, including today and Friday.

The Joint Budget Committee draws up the state’s annual budget, which by law must be balanced each year. Rep. May joins Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) as the House Democrats on the six-member JBC. Because JBC leadership alternates annually between the House and Senate, Rep. Duran will take over at year’s end as chairwoman of the committee, replacing Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver).

“I welcome Rep. May to the JBC and I thank her in advance for taking on all the extra work this job requires,” Rep. Duran said. “I also want to thank all the well-qualified, dedicated members of my caucus who raised their hands when this position came open so unexpectedly.”

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