Current Position: US Senator since 2009
Candidate: 2022 US Senator
Chair, Subcommittee Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources
Source: Government page
July 24, 2021 (15:33)
Fox 21 News, – September 16, 2021
DENVER—Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined a group of senators in writing the Biden administration to urge them to implement the wildland firefighter pay and personnel provisions into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
While battling historic wildfires across the West, federal firefighting agencies are facing major staffing shortfalls due to a significant pay gap between federal and state wildland firefighters.
In a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja, the senators wrote the following letter:
Dear Secretary Haaland, Secretary Vilsack, and Director Ahuja:
We write today in support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill (the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) and urge you to prepare for rapid implementation of provisions relating to federal wildland firefighters. Specifically, we ask that your agencies begin working together now to be in position to swiftly implement the pay increase for federal wildland firefighters, the development of a distinct “wildland firefighter” occupational series, and the conversion of at least 1,000 seasonal firefighting positions to permanent positions once this bill is signed into law….
Source: Government page
Michael Bennet has represented Colorado in the United States Senate since 2009. Recognized as a pragmatic and independent thinker, he is driven by an obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation. Michael has built a reputation of taking on Washington dysfunction and working with Republicans and Democrats to address our nation’s greatest challenges— including education, climate change, immigration, health care, and national security.
Before serving in the Senate, Michael worked to restructure failing businesses and helped create the world’s largest movie theater chain. As superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, he led one of the most extensive reform efforts in the country, resulting in substantial, sustained academic improvement for Denver’s children.
He lives in Denver with his wife and three daughters.
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
- Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management
- Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources (Chair)
- Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy
- Committee on Finance
- Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure (Chair)
- Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight
- Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy
- Select Committee on Intelligence
WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE
261 Russell Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
DENVER METRO OFFICE
Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Building
1244 Speer Boulevard
Denver, CO 80204
Toll Free: 866-455-9866
PIKES PEAK OFFICE
409 North Tejon Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
225 North 5th Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501
NORTHERN COLORADO & EASTERN PLAINS OFFICE
1200 South College Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80524
1309 East 3rd Avenue, Suite 101
Durango, CO 81301
SOUTHEAST & ARKANSAS VALLEY OFFICE
129 West B Street
Pueblo, CO 81003
SAN LUIS VALLEY OFFICE
609 Main Street
Alamosa, CO 81101
- Chief of staff to mayor of Denver
2003 to 2005
Denver Public Schools
2005 to 2009
Birth Year: 1964
Place of Birth: New Delhi, India
Spouse: Susan Daggett
Children: Halina Bennet, Caroline Bennet, Anne Bennet
Washington D.C. Office
261 Russell Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Denver Metro Office
Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Building
1244 Speer Boulevard
Denver, CO 80204
Pikes Peak Office
409 North Tejon Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
San Luis Valley Office
609 Main Street
Alamosa, CO 81101
225 North 5th Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501
2016 US Senator
|Michael Bennet (D)||1,370,710||50%|
|Darryl Glenn (R)||1,215,318||44.3%|
|Lily Tang Williams (L)||99,277||3.6%|
|Arn Menconi (G)||36,805||1.3%|
|Bill Hammons ()||9,336||0.3%|
|Dan Chaping ()||8,361||0.3%|
|Paul Noel Fiorino ()||3,216||0.1%|
Source: Follow the Money
Conservation, Forestry, and Natural Resources
Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade
Rural Development and Energy
Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy
Taxation and IRS Oversight
See: Vote Smart
Source: Campaign page
MICHAEL BENNET FIGHTS FOR HARD WORKING COLORADANS AND AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE, NOT JUST THOSE AT THE TOP.
Michael will work with anyone, regardless of party, to get things done in Washington and he is working to end the influence of corporate special interests in our politics. From repairing roads and bridges and protecting public lands, to cutting taxes for working families and lowering health care costs, Michael has shown he can overcome partisan gridlock, and deliver for Colorado.
Democracy & Governance
FIGHTING WASHINGTON CORRUPTION AND RETURNING POLITICS TO THE PEOPLE
THE BROKEN CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM GIVES LARGE CORPORATIONS AND THEIR LOBBYISTS TOO MUCH POWER IN WASHINGTON.
Michael puts Colorado first and stands up to corporate special interests to reform our politics. He has been recognized as a leader on anti-corruption efforts in Congress by End Citizens United. Michael is the only Senator running for re-election who is not taking any money from corporate PACs and federal lobbyists. He’s currently working to ban members of Congress from trading stocks and ever becoming lobbyists. Michael knows Washington plays by different rules, and he wants to put an end to that.
Economy & Jobs
HELPING COLORADO FAMILIES GET AHEAD
COLORADO FAMILIES ARE FINDING THAT NO MATTER HOW HARD THEY WORK, THEY STRUGGLE TO MAKE ENDS MEET.
Michael passed the expanded Child Tax Credit, which kept nearly 4 million children out of poverty last year alone and gave working families a tax cut. Now, he’s fighting to make it permanent. Michael believes anybody who graduates with a high school diploma should be able to find a good job and earn a living wage. That’s why he’s working to expand access to skills training and apprenticeships, particularly in rural and underserved communities. He’s also fighting to make sure college is affordable for Coloradans who choose to attend. Michael successfully pushed to extend the pause on student loan repayments so borrowers have more time to financially recover from the pandemic.
GROWING COLORADO’S ECONOMY AND CREATING JOBS
COLORADANS NEED AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE, NOT JUST THOSE AT THE TOP.
Michael is fighting to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the few at the top. He’s working to lower costs from health care to housing to child care to make sure Coloradans can get and stay ahead. Michael’s work saving small businesses during the COVID pandemic earned him the Small Business Council of America’s 2022 Congressional Award. Michael helped pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which will rebuild roads and bridges while creating good-paying jobs, and expand access to high-speed internet so Coloradans can fully participate in the 21st century economy. He believes the wealthy and big corporations should pay their fair share in taxes so he’s fighting to reverse the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations and invest in working families. Michael is fighting to boost American competitiveness to bolster our national security and bring manufacturing of critical goods back to the United States.
TACKLING RISING COSTS
ONGOING SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTIONS AND HOUSING SHORTAGES MEAN PRICES CONTINUE TO INCREASE FOR COLORADANS.
As housing costs rise, Michael has worked with leaders across Colorado to create a plan that will increase housing supply and lower costs. Michael responded to rising gas prices by introducing legislation to hold Big Oil companies accountable for profiteering. To solve supply chain problems, Michael has worked to allow truckers to work more efficiently, hold shipping companies accountable, and he supported small and medium meat processors to protect our food supply chain.
Health & Education
EXPANDING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, GOOD-QUALITY HEALTH CARE FOR ALL COLORADANS
HEALTH CARE COSTS ARE TOO HIGH AND COLORADANS NEED REALISTIC SOLUTIONS THAT EXPAND ACCESS TO GOOD QUALITY, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE.
Michael worked with Republicans to lower health care costs by ending surprise emergency medical bills and cut red tape so Coloradans can quickly access lifesaving medicines for cancer, diabetes, and more. Now, Michael is fighting to cap out-of-pocket insulin prices at $35 per month and to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Since 2017, Michael has fought for a public option called Medicare X that would expand on the promise of the Affordable Care Act to achieve universal healthcare, and allow people to keep their private insurance if they want.
Michael believes that Washington, D.C. should follow Colorado’s lead and codify Roe v. Wade into law, so that women can make these most personal reproductive decisions with their doctors, and without government interference.
Environment & Energy
PROTECTING COLORADO’S PUBLIC LANDS, AIR AND WATER
DROUGHTS, WILDFIRES, AND AIR POLLUTION ARE THREATENING THE COLORADO WAY OF LIFE.
For years, Michael has fought for solutions that address climate change, cut pollution, and make sure all Coloradans have clean air and water. Michael is working to help Colorado communities recover from wildfires and prevent them from happening; plug orphan wells that release toxic methane and other pollutants into our air and groundwater; and upgrade our electrical grid and grow our renewable energy sector – all while creating good-paying jobs to execute these critical programs and ensuring that as we transition to a clean energy economy, no Colorado communities are left behind.
STRENGTHENING RURAL AND FARMING COMMUNITIES
RURAL COMMUNITIES ARE AT RISK OF BEING LEFT BEHIND IN A RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD.
Michael passed legislation to close the digital divide in rural communities and bring high-speed internet to tens of thousands of Coloradans who currently lack access. He passed legislation to repair roads and bridges and improve public transportation on the Western Slope. Michael is fighting to support farmers and ranchers facing an unprecedented drought and build resilient supply chains. As housing costs rise, Michael passed measures to improve and build affordable housing for our rural and mountain communities. Finally, Michael passed the Postal Reform Act which will save nearly $50 billion over the next 10 years while supporting more reliable delivery and service in Colorado’s mountain and rural communities.
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Michael Farrand Bennet (born November 28, 1964) is an American attorney, businessman, and politician serving as the senior United States senator from Colorado, a seat he has held since 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, he was appointed to the seat when Senator Ken Salazar became Secretary of the Interior. Bennet previously worked as a managing director for the Anschutz Investment Company, chief of staff to Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, and superintendent of Denver Public Schools.
Bennet is the son of Douglas J. Bennet, a former State Department official and president of Wesleyan University. Early in his career, Bennet worked for Ohio Governor Richard Celeste. He received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School, worked as a law clerk, and was counsel to the U.S. Deputy Attorney General during the administration of Bill Clinton.
Bennet became superintendent of the Denver public school system in July 2005. He was appointed by Governor Bill Ritter to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Ken Salazar when Salazar became Secretary of the Interior in January 2009. Bennet was elected in the 2010 Senate election, defeating Republican Ken Buck. He chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) for the 2014 cycle and was reelected to the Senate in 2016.
On May 2, 2019, Bennet announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. He dropped out of the race on February 11, 2020, after a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary.
Early life and education
Bennet was born in New Delhi, India. His mother is Susanne Christine Bennet (née Klejman), a retired elementary school librarian and Jewish Holocaust survivor who was born in 1938 in Warsaw, Poland, and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1950. Her parents survived imprisonment in the Warsaw Ghetto. His father is Douglas J. Bennet, who was born in New Jersey, a Christian who served as an aide to Chester Bowles, then the U.S. ambassador to India. Douglas Bennet ran the United States Agency for International Development under President Jimmy Carter, served as president and the CEO of National Public Radio (1983–93), and as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs in the Clinton administration (1993–95). His grandfather Douglas Bennet was an economic adviser in Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s administration.
Bennet grew up in Washington, D.C.; his father served as an aide to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, among other politicians. He was held back in second grade because of his dyslexia. He enrolled at St. Albans School, an elite all-boys preparatory school, and served as a page on Capitol Hill.
In 1987, Bennet earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Wesleyan University, the alma mater of his father and grandfather. At Wesleyan he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. Bennet earned his J.D. degree from Yale Law School, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal.
From 1988 until 1990, when he left to attend Yale, he served as an aide to Ohio governor Richard Celeste. After law school he served as a law clerk for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and as an associate to Washington, D.C. attorney Lloyd Cutler. He then served as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General during the Bill Clinton administration. His father, Douglas Bennet worked in the Clinton White House as well, as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. Following a stint as an assistant to the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, Bennet left the legal world and moved West. After briefly living in Montana, he moved with his fiancé to Colorado in 1997. Bennet worked for six years in Denver as managing director for the Anschutz Investment Company, where he led the reorganization of an oil company and helped consolidate three movie theater chains into the Regal Entertainment Group.
While working for Anschutz, Bennet befriended fellow Wesleyan alumnus John Hickenlooper, informally advising the latter’s successful campaign for mayor of Denver. Moving back into public service, Bennet served for two years as Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff.
The Denver Board of Education selected Bennet as superintendent of Denver Public Schools on June 27, 2005, and he took office on July 1. He had no experience as a school administrator. Under Bennet’s leadership, the Denver Public School system grew student enrollment, decreased dropout rates, and improved graduation rates and college enrollment. Those trends have continued since Bennet left the office. Bennet collaborated with educators and community members to develop the Denver Plan, a commitment to increase student success by focusing on higher expectations, better professional learning opportunities for educators, and deeper engagement with the community and stakeholders. Bennet and the City of Denver also partnered with private philanthropists to increase college enrollment and affordability for DPS graduates. The Denver Post said of his tenure, “Bennet has been a force—pushing reforms and steering the state’s second-largest district to a culture of success.”
In 2008 Bennet persuaded the Denver Board of Education to enter into a 30-year, $750 million financial bond transaction with variable interest rates designed to fluctuate as economic conditions changed. According to The New York Times, “In short order, the transaction went awry because of stress in the credit markets, problems with the bond insurer and plummeting interest rates.” As of 2010 the school system had paid $115 million in interest and other fees, at least $25 million more than it originally anticipated.
Bennet was among the many officials whose names were circulated for United States Secretary of Education in the Obama administration, a position eventually filled by Arne Duncan. He and his wife were early Obama supporters during the 2008 Democratic primaries, and he was among those who advised Obama on education issues.
On January 3, 2009, Bennet was named by Colorado governor Bill Ritter to fill the seat in the United States Senate vacated by United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on January 20. Ritter chose Bennet after interviewing several prominent Colorado Democrats, and Bennet took the job with the blessing of Hickenlooper. Upon taking office on January 21, 2009, he became the youngest senator in the 111th United States Congress, and he stated that he would seek election at the end of his term in 2010.
In his January 2011 article in Time, titled “Shaking Schools Up in an Already Tumultuous Year,” Andrew J. Rotherham said of Bennet: “If the federal No Child Left Behind Act is modified this year, or if anything else of significance happens in Washington on education policy, this Colorado Democrat will be at the center of it.”
Bennet ran for election for a full term as senator from Colorado in the 2010 election. On September 16, 2009, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff announced his campaign to challenge Bennet for the Democratic nomination. Bennet received endorsements from President Obama, U.S. Senator Mark Udall, and U.S. Representatives Betsy Markey, Jared Polis, and John Salazar of the Colorado congressional delegation. He raised $7 million and had a four-to-one cash advantage over Romanoff.
On August 10, 2010, Bennet defeated Romanoff in the primary and won his party’s nomination, facing Republican candidate Ken Buck. The campaign became one of the most expensive in the country, with the candidates spending a reported $15 million combined, and outside groups another $30 million. Bennet portrayed Buck as an extremist conservative opposed to abortion and direct election of senators, while Buck and the groups supporting him characterized Bennet as a big-spending liberal.
On November 3, the day after polls closed, Bennet was declared the winner and Buck conceded. Bennet won by 851,590 votes (48.1%) to 822,731 (46.4%). He subsequently returned to Washington, D.C. in January 2011 to start a full six-year term. After the election, Obama said Bennet “perfectly reflects the qualities of the ruggedly independent state he has been chosen to serve.”
Bennet was reelected to a second term on November 8, 2016, defeating the Republican nominee, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn. Bennet received 1.36 million votes, 156,248 more than Glenn. He received 31,780 more votes than Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who won the state in the presidential election. Bennet received more votes than any other Democrat in a statewide race in Colorado history. He also won more votes in Colorado’s rural counties than any other statewide Democrat in state history.
Bennet announced that he would seek reelection to a third term in 2022.
In the wake of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Bennet called for the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution to be invoked to remove Trump from office.
Bennet sits on the following committees and subcommittees in the 115th United States Congress (2017–19).
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
- Committee on Finance
- Select Committee on Intelligence
Bennet supports abortion rights and has voted to continue federal funding to Planned Parenthood. After Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, Bennet said that the “radical majority on the Supreme Court demolished fifty years of precedent” and called it an “activist decision”.
In March 2019, Bennet was one of 38 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue warning that dairy farmers “have continued to face market instability and are struggling to survive the fourth year of sustained low prices” and urging his department to “strongly encourage these farmers to consider the Dairy Margin Coverage program.”
Bennet cosponsored the bipartisan STATES Act, proposed in the 115th U.S. Congress by senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Gardner, which would exempt individuals or corporations in compliance with state cannabis laws from federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act. He also cosponsored the SAFE Banking Act in 2019, which would provide marijuana businesses with access to banking services.
In 2018 Bennet criticized the Trump administration for attempting to cherry-pick data to misinform the public on marijuana use. In response, the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy committed to be completely objective and dispassionate in its analysis of marijuana.
Bennet cosponsored the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act in 2018 and the Marijuana Justice Act in 2019, a pair of bills that would legalize cannabis at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. He opposed Colorado’s Amendment 64 to legalize cannabis in 2012.
In 2009, Bennet co-sponsored the Solar Manufacturing Jobs Creation Act, legislation that would have provided a tax credit to support solar manufacturing in the U.S. The legislation was not enacted.
In October 2017, Bennet was one of 19 senators to sign a letter to Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt questioning Pruitt’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan, asserting that Pruitt used “mathematical sleights of hand to overstate the costs of industry compliance with the 2015 Rule and understate the benefits that will be lost if the 2017 repeal is finalized”, and that science denial and math tricks fail to “satisfy the requirements of the law, nor will it slow the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, the inexorable rise in sea levels, or the other dire effects of global warming that our planet is already experiencing.”
In November 2018, Bennet was one of 25 Democratic senators to cosponsor a resolution in response to findings of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change report and National Climate Assessment. The resolution affirmed the senators’ acceptance of the findings and their support for bold action to address climate change.
In March 2019, Bennet was an original cosponsor of a bipartisan bill intended to mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency declare per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances as hazardous substances that can be addressed with cleanup funds via the EPA Superfund law and require that polluters undertake or pay for remediation within a year of the bill’s enaction.
In April 2019, Bennet was one of 12 senators to sign a bipartisan letter to top senators on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development advocating that the Energy Department be granted maximum funding for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), arguing that American job growth could be stimulated by investment in capturing carbon emissions and expressing disagreement with President Trump’s 2020 budget request to combine the two federal programs that do carbon capture research.
In September 2019, Bennet was one of eight senators to sign a bipartisan letter to congressional leadership requesting full and lasting funding of the Land and Water Conservation Act in order to aid national parks and public lands, benefit the $887 billion American outdoor recreation economy, and “ensure much-needed investment in our public lands and continuity for the state, tribal, and non-federal partners who depend on them.”
In July 2017, Bennet co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which permits U.S. states to enact laws that require contractors to sign a pledge saying they will not boycott goods from Israel, or their contracts will be terminated.
In March 2018, Bennet voted against tabling[clarification needed] a resolution spearheaded by Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy, and Mike Lee that would have required Trump to withdraw American troops either in or influencing Yemen within the next 30 days unless they were combating Al-Qaeda.
In November 2018, Bennet joined senators Chris Coons, Elizabeth Warren, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending the Trump administration a letter raising concerns about the People’s Republic of China‘s undue influence on media outlets and academic institutions in the United States. They wrote: “In American news outlets, Beijing has used financial ties to suppress negative information about the CCP. In the past four years, multiple media outlets with direct or indirect financial ties to China allegedly decided not to publish stories on wealth and corruption in the CCP. In one case, an editor resigned due to mounting self-censorship in the outlet’s China coverage. Beijing has also sought to use relationships with American academic institutions and student groups to shape public discourse.”
In April 2019, Bennet was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to Trump about cutting aid to Central America. It encouraged Trump “to listen to members of your own Administration and reverse a decision that will damage our national security and aggravate conditions inside Central America,” asserting that Trump had “consistently expressed a flawed understanding of U.S. foreign assistance” since becoming president and that he was “personally undermining efforts to promote U.S. national security and economic prosperity” by preventing the use of Fiscal Year 2018 national security funding. The senators argued that foreign assistance to Central American countries created less migration to the U.S. by helping to improve conditions in those countries.
On January 24, 2019, Bennet gave an impromptu 25-minute speech on the Senate floor in response to comments by Senator Ted Cruz. He questioned the authenticity of Cruz’s concern about difficulties that the 2018–19 government shutdown was causing to first responders, recalling that in 2013 Cruz led a shutdown that lasted 16 days at a time when Colorado was experiencing flooding. In less than eight hours the speech became the most-watched Senate floor speech in C-SPAN history.
As of 2010, Bennet had earned a “C+” grade from the National Rifle Association for a mixed record regarding his votes for gun rights. In 2012, Bennet joined then Colorado Senator Mark Udall in asking for stricter gun control, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. After the shooting, Bennet said, “In Colorado, we support the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, we support the ability of people to hunt and recreate and to protect their families and homes, and we want to keep the wrong weapons out of the hands of the wrong people.”
Bennet participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster, demanding that gun laws be changed in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. During his participation in the filibuster, Bennet talked about the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting, citing that as a response to the shooting, the state of Colorado closed gun sale loopholes and now requires background checks for any gun purchase.
In 2013, Bennet voted against a Senate Amendment 711 to S. 649 (The Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013), an amendment introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would have reinstated the federal assault weapons ban. The amendment was defeated 40–60 with one Republican, Mark Kirk, voting in favor and 16 Democrats (including independent Senator Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats) against. Also in 2013 Bennet voted to strengthen the background check system and to ban high-capacity magazines.
Bennet owns a shotgun, which he has called a “hunting shotgun”.
Health care policy
Bennet voted in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. In November 2009, when the bill was still working its way through Congress, Bennet said that he would support health care reform even if it meant losing the election. In 2016, describing the healthcare costs in western and central Colorado as among the highest in the United States, Bennet said he “didn’t have answers” and called it “next to impossible” to fix the Affordable Care Act given partisan attitudes at that time.
As part of a group of Democrats proposing “more incremental steps to broaden health care coverage”, as opposed to Bernie Sanders‘s push for “Medicare for All”, Bennet and Senator Tim Kaine have proposed “Medicare X”. Medicare X would “create a public option modeled after Medicare alongside private options on the ObamaCare marketplaces“. In 2019 Bennet and Kaine reintroduced the latest version of the plan, which would also “expand access to tax credits.”
In January 2019 during the 2018–19 United States federal government shutdown, Bennet was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb recognizing the efforts of the FDA to address the shutdown’s effect on public health and employees while remaining alarmed “that the continued shutdown will result in increasingly harmful effects on the agency’s employees and the safety and security of the nation’s food and medical products.”
In April 2019 Bennet and Senator Chuck Grassley’s Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act, legislation that creates an option for states and families to provide improved coordination of care for children with complex medical conditions, was signed into law.
In September 2009, Bennet cosponsored the DREAM Act (S. 729), which proposed amending the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 by giving residency to immigrants enrolled in higher education programs or serving in the military. In 2013, he was a member of the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of four Democratic and four Republican U.S. senators who introduced comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Their bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, passed the U.S. Senate with a vote of 68–32, but stalled in the House due to opposition from the Republican majority. He later cosponsored the Dream Act of 2017. After President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Bennet worked with a bipartisan group of senators to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers with stronger border protections.
In August 2018, Bennet was one of 17 senators to sign a letter spearheaded by Kamala Harris to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen demanding that the Trump administration take immediate action in attempting to reunite 539 migrant children with their families, citing each passing day of inaction as intensifying “trauma that this administration has needlessly caused for children and their families seeking humanitarian protection.”
In June 2019, Bennet and six other Democratic senators led by Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz sent letters to the Government Accountability Office and the suspension and debarment official and inspector general at the US Department of Health and Human Services citing recent reports that showed “significant evidence that some federal contractors and grantees have not provided adequate accommodations for children in line with legal and contractual requirements” and urged the officials to determine whether federal contractors and grantees are in violation of contractual obligations or federal regulations and should thus face financial consequences.
In July 2019, following reports that the Trump administration intended to cease protecting spouses, parents and children of active-duty service members from deportation, Bennet was one of 22 senators led by Tammy Duckworth to sign a letter arguing that the protection gave service members the ability “to fight for the United States overseas and not worry that their spouse, children, or parents will be deported while they are away” and that its termination would both cause service members personal hardship and negatively affect their combat performance.
Also in July 2019, Markey and 15 other Senate Democrats introduced the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, which would require, except in special circumstances, that ICE agents get approval from a supervisor before engaging in enforcement actions at sensitive locations, and that agents receive annual training in addition to reporting annually on enforcement actions in those locations.
Bennet supports same-sex marriage. He lauded the Supreme Court‘s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, stating on his Senate website “Marriage is a fundamental right that same-sex couples deserve to enjoy, and now they will have the same rights and opportunities that the law grants to Susan [Bennet’s spouse] and me.”
Bennet is the author of legislation to direct resources to improve the sexual health of older Americans, including LGBTQ+ and rural senior populations. He is an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act.
2020 presidential campaign
Bennet’s 2020 presidential campaign began on May 2, 2019, when he officially declared his candidacy during an appearance on CBS This Morning. Bennet was previously mentioned as a possible presidential candidate following his viral response to Senator Ted Cruz in January 2019. In February and March 2019 he traveled to early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. In late March Bennet said he was “very inclined” to run for the presidency.
Following his announcement, Bennet campaigned in Iowa on May 5 and 11 and South Carolina on May 31. He qualified for the first set of debates on June 3, and appeared in the June 27 debate, receiving 8.1 minutes of airtime. He appeared in the second set of debates, on July 26 and 27, this time receiving 10.6 minutes of airtime. He failed to qualify for the remainder of the debates. He also failed to qualify for the Iowa and New Hampshire debate, making him the candidate to fail to qualify for a debate the most times (six).
On October 26, 1997, Bennet married Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund attorney Susan Diane Daggett, in Marianna, Arkansas. They have three daughters and reside in Denver’s Congress Park neighborhood.
Though not raised in an observant household, Bennet acknowledges his Jewish roots. He has said that he was “raised with two different heritages, one [that] was Jewish and one [that] was Christian,” and that he believes in God.
On April 3, 2019, Bennet announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery later that month. Following the surgery, Bennet’s office said the procedure was “completely successful” and that he requires no further treatment.
As of 2019, according to Forbes Magazine, Bennet’s net worth was $15 million.
|Democratic||Michael Bennet (incumbent)||183,225||54.2%|
|Democratic||Michael Bennet (incumbent)||851,590||48.1%|
|Democratic||Michael Bennet (incumbent)||262,344||100.00%|
|Democratic||Michael Bennet (incumbent)||1,370,710||49.97%||+1.92%|
|Libertarian||Lily Tang Williams||99,277||3.62%||+2.35%|
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- Frank, John; Matthews, Mark K. (November 8, 2016). “Michael Bennet defeats Darryl Glenn in Senate race in Colorado”. The Denver Post. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
- Turkewitz, Julie (May 2, 2019). “Michael Bennet, Senator From Colorado, Is Running for President”. The New York Times.
- Turkewitz, Julie; Astor, Maggie (February 11, 2020). “Michael Bennet Drops Out of the 2020 Presidential Race”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
- Mitchell, Nancy (January 24, 2009). “Bennet’s tale steeped in family roots”. Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on March 1, 2009. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
- Mitchell, Nancy (January 3, 2009). “Heading back to the Beltway”. Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
- Phillips, Kate (January 2, 2009). “Denver Schools Chief Said to Replace Salazar in Senate”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
- Sandoval, Michael (October 28, 2010). “Bennet’s Views on Religion”. National Review.
- “Interview with Susanne K. Bennet” (PDF). United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. March 22, 2012.
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