Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet becomes the 21st Democrat to join presidential race

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet becomes the 21st Democrat to join presidential race

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) mingles with constituents who came to Capitol Hill last month for a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee on the Colorado Outdoor & Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. [Courtesy: Rep. Carl Neguse (D-Colo.)]

WASHINGTON — Sen. Michael Bennet is running for president, and is prioritizing economic opportunity and restoring integrity to the government as focuses of his campaign, the Colorado Democrat announced in an interview Thursday morning.

“If we keep going down this road, we’re going to be the first generation of Americans to leave less opportunity — not more — to the next generation, and I just need to do everything I can do to make sure we don’t do that,” Bennet said on “CBS This Morning.”

Bennet clarified he does not believe President Donald Trump is responsible for “a lack of economic mobility” but that the president has made it worse through his policies.

Bennet, 54, has served in the Senate since 2009. He is considered a staunch progressive and an outspoken opponent of the current administration.

Bennet’s entry into the 2020 contest means there are now 21 Democrats vying for the chance to take on Trump.

Polls show former Vice President Joe Biden leading the pack by an overwhelming margin.

Bennet also said that health care is a priority. Last month he underwent surgery for prostate cancer. Following a successful operation five years after his diagnosis, he said, he was given a clean bill of health. Bennet said his diagnosis was a turning point for him, because he imagined what it would like to not have health care.

Bennet said he will distinguish himself from the other candidates because of his broad work experience. He said has a history of turning around failing businesses. Just before being appointed to the Senate he served as superintendent of Denver Public Schools for four years, although he had no experience as a school administrator.

The senator said he has “won very tough races in a purple state,” and also pointed out that he has “a track record of bipartisan work for 10 years in the Senate.”

One of Bennet’s competitors for the Democratic presidential nomination is a former boss, John Hickenlooper Jr., also from Colorado. When Hickenlooper was the mayor of Denver, Bennet worked as his chief of staff from 2003-2005. Hickenlooper most recently served two terms as Colorado’s governor, from January 2011 to January 2019. Both men are alumni of Wesleyan. Bennet also graduated from Yale Law School.

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