(Sept. 19) – Kelly Watkins is Speaker Crisanta Duran’s new chief of staff, the speaker announced today.

“No one in Colorado state government works harder and smarter than Kelly,” Speaker Duran said. “We make a good team, and I am thrilled to have her take on this lead role as we head into the 2018 session.”

In the 2017 legislative session Watkins had the title of chief adviser to the speaker and shared many of the duties of the chief of staff, David Oppenheim. Now she succeeds Oppenheim, who served one session as Speaker Duran’s chief of staff and two sessions as chief under Speaker Mark Ferrandino.

Watkins has worked at the state capitol since late 2011, when she started as the legislative aide to Rep. Duran, then a first-term representative, soon after graduating from Cornell University with a triple major in economics, psychology and Spanish. The following session Watkins moved into the House Democratic staff as a policy assistant, then took on increasing responsibility in the following years as legislative director, deputy chief of staff, and chief of staff for Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst upon the departure of chief of staff Ian Silverii.

“I’m grateful for the confidence Speaker Duran has shown in me with this appointment and throughout my years at the Capitol,” Watkins said. “I look forward to continuing to work with our wonderful House Majority caucus members and staff in this new role.”

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