Oct 032010
Authors: Chadwick Bowman

Sen. Michael Bennet is concerned about the future, because his youngest daughter says she is “unwilling” to pay down the deficit.

“We have an obligation to the next generation of Americans to make sure that we are not the first generation to leave less opportunity for our kids and grandkids,” Bennet said.

In January 2009, Gov. Bill Ritter selected Michael Bennet to the U.S. Senate. He filled the seat vacated by Ken Salazar after he joined the Obama administration as the Secretary of the Interior.

Before that, Bennet was the superintendant of Denver Public Schools, DPS, where he worked with students, teachers, parents and administrators to help combat decreasing budgets.

“I’ve never had a more compelling job,” Bennet said. “It’s just one more experience outside of politics.”

Education reform is a hot topic on the ballot for this year’s midterm elections. Bennet will face Ken Buck, current district attorney for Weld County, at the Nov. 2 polls.

Still being new to Senate, he is also learning about the difficulties Washington faces in terms of implementing beneficial policies.

“When you are standing in a classroom visiting with the teacher and a student who are on the receiving end of somebody’s well intentioned idea from Washington,” he said. “By the time it gets to the classroom, it makes no sense at all. That gives me perspective rooted in Colorado.”

Bennet travels the state, conducting town hall meetings and said the biggest concern he hears from college students is the availability of jobs after graduation.

In the current economic climate, many college students are finding it difficult to obtain jobs that are career oriented and not just working part time to cover bills.

“I am hopeful that when you (college students) graduate there is going to be a much more robust economy than we have right now,” Bennet said. “In the short term what we need to do is get credit flowing to small businesses again.”

Bennet backed bills like the Credit Card Act, which curtailed the overzealous advertising and incentives offered to college students by credit card companies, who know college-aged students are vulnerable for racking up debt.

The bill also keeps credit card companies from issuing cards to those younger than age 21 unless they have a qualified co-signer.

Bennet voted yes on the controversial health care reform, but said the biggest benefit to catch his eyes was that college age students could stay on parental health insurance until age 26.

“I think there are good and bad aspects of health care,” said Jeff Adams, a freshman biology major. “Staying on your parents plan is good, but what worries me are the costs.”

Bennet pushes for renewable energy and job growth within the renewable energy sector. These jobs are both high-paying and can’t be outsourced.

“More renewable energy means good things for the economy,” Bennet said. He also elaborated on national security and the importance of renewable energy to alleviate our dependence on foreign oil producers.

“Our dependence on oil from some of the most hostile countries is a dangerous policy,” he added.

If re-elected, Bennet plans to work with environmental agencies to ensure sportsmen and women can take advantage of fishing and hunting, protect water supply and quality, keep Coloradans tied to the state’s heritage, cater to the needs of veterans and seniors, fight for reproductive justice, support immigration reform and stand for agricultural communities in Colorado.

_Staff writer Chadwick Bowman can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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