Michael Bennet became our U.S. senator when Gov. Bill Ritter appointed him to the position in January 2009. Most odds makers and pundits probably had never heard of Michael and certainly did not put him in the running.
So why Michael Bennet?
Bennet is not a career politician. Perhaps this made him an unlikely appointment, but it may make him exceptionally qualified to hold the seat. Certainly, an examination of Bennet’s qualifications and his performance to date gives credence to the wisdom of Gov. Ritter’s choice.
Bennet graduated with honors from Yale Law School. He moved to Denver with his wife, Susan, and began a successful career in law and business. He worked for Mayor John Hickenlooper and later became superintendent of Denver Public Schools. He and Susan are raising three children in Colorado.
In his role as superintendent, Bennet was known for riding the school bus to work in the morning. It gave him the opportunity to get to know the kids, the inner workings of the system he hoped to manage and the issues he faced. Bennet has taken this approach with his role in the Senate. Thrown into such an important role, he was neither hasty nor presumptuous. He took time to learn the system and studied each issue. He has been deliberate with his votes, and has never hesitated to question the leadership of his party when he disagreed with their actions. When Sen. Ben Nelson, of Nebraska, and the party leadership made their shameful backroom deal on health care reform, Bennet publicly denounced it.
Bennet has consistently proven to be one of the strongest voices for a public option in the health care debate. He understands that health care reform is not an evil socialist movement; it is fundamentally about fixing a broken system, which, as it is currently structured, is bankrupting our citizens, our businesses and our government. If elected, he will continue to stand for what he knows is right.
When you caucus this Tuesday, I encourage you to nominate Michael Bennet to be the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate. For more information, please go to http://bennet.senate.gov/.
Jon Quinn is the Steamboat Springs City Council president pro-tem.