State Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet selected for open Colorado Senate seat

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Democratic state Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet at the state Capitol, March 1, 2023.

Updated at 11:20 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2023

State House Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet will replace state Sen. Dominick Moreno in Senate District 21 after a Democratic vacancy committee selected her Thursday night.

Moreno, who held the number two position in the Senate, is leaving his seat for a position in Denver Mayor Mike Johnston's new administration.

Due to term limits, Michaelson Jenet is in her final session in the House, having represented House District 32, which includes portions of Adams County, for the past seven years. She serves as chair of the House Public Health & Human Services Committee as well as on the Education and Legislative Audit Committees.

In her new role she will represent a district that includes Commerce City, Federal Heights and Westminster, as well as rural parts of Adams and Arapahoe counties.

Colorado Senate President Steve Fenberg of Boulder welcomed his new colleague in a statement.

“I am thrilled to congratulate and welcome Senator-elect Michaelson Jenet, a leader in the House who has fought her entire legislative career to move her community and our state forward, to the Colorado Senate,” Fenberg said. “Adams County voters can rest easy knowing they’ll continue being well represented by a strong voice in the Senate, and I look forward to working with Senator-elect Michaelson Jenet to build a stronger, safer and healthier Colorado for us all.”

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Democratic state Reps. Shannon Bird, left, and Dafna Michaelson Jenet in the House Chamber, March 6, 2023.

Michaelson Jenet will have to run to keep her seat in 2024. And another vacancy committee will now be needed to fill her newly vacant House seat. She was selected for the position over Adams 14 school district member Lucy Molina.

"Thank you, Lucy Molina, for everything that you do for the community. I know you'll keep doing it for the community, and I will continue supporting you in your work," Michaelson Jenet said while thanking her supporters during the vacancy committee meeting. "And I just thank you all and I'm excited to serve in Dominick's unbelievably huge shoes."

She joins a Democratic caucus with a near supermajority in the Senate.

Moreno was well-liked at the Capitol, winning praise from both sides of the aisle. Some Republicans credited Moreno with helping to foster a collaborative and respectful relationship with the minority party and listening to their concerns. He will now serve as the deputy chief of staff for Mayor Johnston.

Senate Democrats will meet later this fall to pick a new Majority Leader.