By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – Michael Bennet has served Colorado in the U.S. Senate since 2009, making him the state’s senior senator. Now he is welcoming his former boss to the senate. Sen.-elect John Hickenlooper hired Bennet to be his chief of staff when he was elected mayor of Denver in 2003. Bennet served as Superintendent of Denver Public Schools before being elected to the U.S. Senate. Now he’s excited to work with his old friend in Washington D.C.

“I think it will be great. John’s been a very successful Mayor. He’s been a successful Governor of Colorado, and a successful business person. I think he’ll bring all of that experience to D.C., and help unsnarl the mess that’s there. I think that will be very welcome,” Bennet told CBS4.

Bennet has worked on legislation surrounding education, climate change, immigration, health care, and national security. He’s built a reputation as being a lawmaker who works with Republicans and Democrats to find compromise.

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh talks to U.S. Senator Michael Bennet via zoom. (credit CBS)

“We have to decide whether we think our disputes are somehow more significant than people who came before us. And, of course, that’s not true. The founders created this country not with the idea that we were going to agree with each other. The idea was that we were going to disagree with each other, but out of those disagreements we’re going to create more imaginative solutions than any king or tyrant could come up with on their own. That’s been totally lost in our national politics. We have to recover that, that ability to work together to see other people’s point of view, to fashion legislation that reflects the notion that we live in a pluralistic society,” Bennet told CBS4’s Kathy Walsh.

When CBS4 talked to Bennet, he was hopeful that the Democratic Party might gain control of the U.S. Senate, and that John Hickenlooper’s win in Colorado would be a big part of that. But, he also reflected that carrying the majority would be a challenge for Democrats.

“Winning doesn’t mean we’ve earned the American people’s confidence. We’re going to have to earn the American people’s confidence. If, in fact, we end up with the majority of the Senate and the White House, we’ve got to make a difference in their daily lives. For 50-years, we’ve had an economy that works really well for those at the top, and not very well for anybody else. We still have a system where we don’t have universal healthcare in this country, the only industrialized nation in the world where that’s true. So, I think there are things we can do in the first year that are going to make a difference in the American people’s pocketbooks, in Coloradans’ pocketbooks. And, to get them through this pandemic by actually taking it on as a national priority in ways that Donald Trump just refused to do,” Bennet said.

 

Libby Smith