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Michael Bennet on the issues, in under 500 words

Sen. Michael Bennet. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, running for president as something of a moderate among Democrats, made headlines earlier this year with an emotional outburst on the Senate floor that saw him tear into Sen. Ted Cruz over the government shutdown. He also announced in April that he was successfully treated for prostate cancer.

Key facts:

  • Current position: Senator from Colorado — 10 years served
  • Age: 54
  • Born: New Delhi, while his father was serving as an aide to then-U.S. ambassador to India
  • Undergraduate: Wesleyan University
  • Date candidacy announced: May 2, 2019
  • % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 27.7%
  • Previous roles: Managing director for the Anschutz Investment Company, chief of staff to former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, and superintendent of Denver Public Schools.

Stance on key issues:

  • Criminal justice: Bennet was a sponsor for the justice reform First Step Act bill in 2016, which limited juvenile solitary confinement and reduced minimum sentences for some repeat non-violent drug crimes.
  • Climate change: Bennet has been consistent on the issue of climate change, working toward a comprehensive approach to combat climate change. He was not a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, but he recommends investing in renewable energy.
  • Agriculture: Bennet has been vocal in his criticism of Trump's tariffs on trade and agriculture. He said Trump's trade war is harming more farmers than it helps. Bennet was also a key advocate of the 2018 farm bill.
  • Court packing: Bennet reportedly slammed his head on a table when the Washington Post asked him about packing the Supreme Court.
  • Health Care: As part of a group of Democrats proposing "more incremental steps to broaden health care coverage," rather than "Medicare for All," Bennet and Sen. Tim Kaine proposed "Medicare X," which would develop a public option modeled after Medicare alongside private options on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. He would also seek to boost medical services in rural communities by providing financial incentives for professionals to work in the regions, according to CNN.
  • Immigration: Bennet co-signed a letter spearheaded by Sen. Kamala Harris to then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, demanding that the Trump administration take immediate action to reunite 539 migrant children with their families. He has advocated for providing a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.
  • Marijuana: Bennet sponsored a bill in February to "End Federal Prohibition of Marijuana."
  • Taxes: Bennet is a primary sponsor of the American Family Act, which would provide tax cuts for middle class families to help offset the cost of raising children in America.

Key criticisms:

  • Name recognition: Bennet isn't exactly a household name, and he was the 21st candidate to enter the Democratic field for 2020.
  • Bank deregulation: Bennet was part of a group of Senate Democrats that moved to deregulate banks, which garnered criticism from the more liberal wing of the party.

1 fun thing:

  • Bennet is the son of Mayflower descendants on his father’s side.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

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