Colorado Democrats pick Manny Rutinel to take vacant seat in Legislature

By: - October 2, 2023 8:19 pm

A view of the Colorado Capitol on May 5, 2023. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

Manny Rutinel will represent House District 32 in the Colorado Legislature, a vacancy committee made of Democrats decided Monday.

He will replace Sen. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, who was recently selected by a separate vacancy committee to replace Sen. Dominick Moreno in Senate District 21. Moreno left the Legislature to serve in Denver Mayor Mike Johnston’s administration.

Rutinel secured the seat on a 23-6 vote. Climate activist Lucy Molina also sought the seat.


“There’s so much potential in our community, yet challenges still persist. I’m committed to fighting for a safer environment, addressing social disparities and ensuring every child can access an equitable and quality education. It shouldn’t matter which part of Colorado you’re from — opportunities should be abundant,” Rutinel said ahead of the vote.

He said he wants to be a voice at the Capitol for people who have experienced poverty and economic anxiety firsthand.

Manny Rutinel will represent Colorado’s House District 32. (Courtesy Manny for Colorado)

He was already running to replace Michaelson Jenet, who was term limited, in the House. He will serve the rest of the former representative’s term, which ends in January 2025, and he is still listed as an active candidate for the 2024 November election for the seat, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Rutinel was nominated by Michaelson Jenet and seconded by Moreno. The 28-year-old first-generation American is a former attorney for Earthjustice, a public interest environmental law organization. He holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and microbiology from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in economics from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from Yale University.

The district includes Commerce City and extends northwest along Interstate 76 to include other parts of unincorporated Adams County.

There have been three vacancy committee selections since the end of the legislative session in May. Aside from the committees that selected Rutinel and Michaelson Jenet for their posts, Rep. Tim Hernández was picked to replace Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez after she was elected to Denver City Council. Vacancy committees comprise voters from the outgoing legislator’s party who live in the district.

The Legislature reconvenes in January.


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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado.