^
Keep Westword Free
4

Wake-Up Call: Senator Bennet rolls up his sleeves

Business boosters at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce didn't know what had hit them. On Friday, when Senator Mark Udall offered a healthcare briefing at the Chamber, there hadn't been a single member of the media. But on Monday, when Senator Michael Bennet did the same, the TV cameras were rolling from the moment Bennet got out of his car.

What a difference a weekend makes. On Saturday, news had leaked that Bennet, appointed to fill Ken Salazar's seat back in January, might face a challenge from former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff. And that -- as well as a weekend advisory from Bennet's office about his speech, a "call for bringing fiscal discipline back to Washington" -- was enough to bring the press.

Bennet didn't address the rumors that had brought out the reporters. Instead, he took off his suit coat to offer a straightforward, smart presentation on healthcare reform and the fiscal crisis, complete with slides that his staff had prepared for similar presentations around the state. (By mid-month, Bennet will have visited all 64 Colorado counties.) Unlike the crowds that have swamped other meetings across the country, this one was very well-behaved -- so well-behaved that Bennet forgot to issue his standard intro, to "forget what political party you belong to, forget what cable station you watch," until the very end.

By then, he'd fielded questions -- from chamber members only, please -- about small businesses, about the difference between juvenile diabetes and adult-onset diabetes, about tort reform. And that last question he swatted down, fast, by pointing out that Colorado tort reforms in the '80s made that issue a non-starter in this state. To another, he said he'd have to think about it while he continued talking, which he did, coming up with a well-rounded answer in the process.

In all, it was an impressive appearance, and much better, one chamber member confided, than Udall's had been three days earlier. It made you want to hear more, much more, from Senator Bennet -- even if it's during debates with would-be Senator Romanoff.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.