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Democratic candidate for president cites ‘broken politics’ at town hall meeting

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and candidate for Democratic nomination for president, answers a question from an attendee during Saturday’s town hall meeting at Marshalltown’s Iowa River Brewing Co.

Two-term Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennet hopes he is on the right side of history.

Bennet, campaigning in Marshalltown Saturday for the right to carry the Democratic Party banner against Republican President Donald Trump in November 2020 said, ” If history is any guide, the people that are the leading candidates today will not win in Iowa. They will not win in New Hampshire. That just hasn’t been the way it’s worked.”

Bennet said he is counting on Iowan’s common sense to propel him over front-runners former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) come caucus night, Feb. 3, 2020.

On Saturday he worked to appeal to the Iowa River Brewing Co. crowd’s common sense with a passionate presentation of policy positions and accomplishments which helped him get elected in Colorado in 2010 and 2016.

“In Colorado, which is one-third Democratic, one-third Republican and one-third Independent, you can’t say one thing in an urban setting and say something else in a rural area,” Bennet said.

The businessman turned senator is also a former superintendent of Denver Public Schools.

While in that position he cited the school district made fundamental changes, and that the district had excelled despite his lack of experience as an educator.

“Having been a businessman, I know things can fail in the public sector and private sector,” he said.

He is a strong supporter of free pre-school for all versus “free college for all.”

The latter is a platform promoted by several of his rivals for the nomination.

“Free pre-school would cost significantly less than Sen. Sanders’ Medicare plan,” he said.

Additionally, Bennet said 70 percent of high school students graduating do not go to college.

“We have to prepare those not going to college for a world of work,” he said.

Bennet was critical of fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sanders and others who are running on a platform of “Medicare for all.”

He said it was too expensive and would never pass.

Bennet said he proposed a “Medicare X” plan, co-authored by Sen. Tim Kane, (D-Va.) who also was Secretary Hilary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 election.

If elected president, Bennet said the first three things he would do is, “reverse the Trump tax cuts so we can make an investment in working people again in this country, bringing people together on climate change … begin the legislative process of getting that done, and third, pursuing progressive reforms of our government so that we take the money out of politics and put people back into politics.”

Bennet did not qualify for last week’s Democratic debate but is hoping television ads in Iowa airing next week and campaign stops will make a difference.

“I have a limited set of resources, Bennet said. “Those ads show my commitment to doing well in Iowa. I had a choice to make, whether I was going to bribe Facebook so I could stay on the debate stage or communicate directly with Iowans.”

Local resident Jeff Harris said he went and heard Bennet speak because the senator made time to come to Marshalltown.

“I have things to do today, but I came because Sen. Bennet took time to come here,” he said.

Fellow resident Sue Blaisdell of Marshalltown said she came to hear what Bennet had to say.

She has attended numerous campaign presentations but has not decided on a candidate to support yet.

“If we continue to pursue the broken politics that we’ve been engaged in over the last 10 years, it’s very likely that my generation of Americans is going to be the first generation to leave less opportunity, not more, to the people that are coming after us. And I think that would be shameful.”

Bennet has three daughters.