Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is looking for his Golden Ticket (read: your vote) to the White House. Back in April, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And said he would run for president if he was declared cancer-free. A successful surgery got him here.
Before becoming a senator, he served as chief of staff for then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who’s also running in 2020. Awkward. He was also the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. Bennet’s been in the Senate since 2009, where he’s developed a reputation for being a moderate. He’s best known for being a part of the Gang of Eight – a bipartisan group that drafted a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013. (It passed in the Senate but didn’t make it to the House.)
The Elephant in the Room
Name recognition. Bennet admits that he has work to do to grab your attention and get a national profile. You know, key if you want to become president.
The 2020 Policies
On political reforms...he wants to fight partisan gerrymandering, stop members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists, and overturn Citizens United (a controversial Supreme Court decision that paved the way for unlimited political contributions). Unlike some other Dem presidential candidates though, he doesn’t support getting rid of a Senate filibuster – or adding more justices to the Supreme Court.
On education...another top campaign issue for him. He has supported expanding Pell Grants (a federal program that helps low-income students pay for college).
On health care...he supports what he calls Medicare-X – which he says would be a public plan that would offer Americans low-cost health insurance choices and create more competition.
On immigration...he's a proud part of the Gang of Eight that supported more border security measures, and a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. Earlier this year, he tried to stop a gov shutdown by giving President Trump the $25 billion he wanted for a border wall in exchange for protections for Dreamers. He was visibly upset when it didn't work out – and a video of him giving an emotional speech went viral.
On climate change…he wants to rejoin the Paris climate deal and provide tax incentives for people to be more energy efficient. But he’s also criticized Democrats for advocating getting rid of coal and oil plants without proposing new jobs.
On guns...he’s sent mixed messages. He’s called for background checks after shootings in Las Vegas and Virginia Beach. He also voted to limit high-capacity magazines. But also says he’s opposed to restricting the right to bear arms.
Bennet is trying to pitch himself as a no-nonsense, moderate politician who can work across the aisle to get sh*t done on everything from immigration to political reform. But he has work to do to get his message across...and show he’s different from some of the other moderate candidates vying for your vote (see: Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar).