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As an innovative businessman and public servant, Michael Bennet is known as a pragmatic leader who implements new solutions to old problems. His desire to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate is deeply rooted in a moral obligation to leave this country in a better place for his children, and a fear that we will fail in that obligation if we do not take a fresh approach to Washington. He believes that the pragmatism and independent thinking that have been so essential to making Colorado such an incredible place to live are also the values we must embrace at a national level to achieve the fundamental change we need to turn this country around.
Michael has not wasted any time. Just months after arriving in the Senate he has been recognized as a leader by his peers and awarded Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat on the prestigious Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Michael’s seat on the HELP committee combined with his other committee positions on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and the Special Committee on Aging will enable him, on behalf of Colorado, to continue to confront the country's challenges head-on.
Michael Bennet is accustomed to leading during difficult times. As Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Michael worked with teachers, parents, students, and school administrators to end the cycles of budget cuts and underachievement plaguing the district. He took a common sense approach to leading the district-- holding daily meetings with principals and faculty. As Michael said in a recent interview, "I was able to gain a lot from those meetings and use the benefit of their experience to learn how policies either supported or impeded their work."
The pragmatic approach was successful. The District enacted a nationally recognized merit pay system, streamlined the budget, and passed the largest school bond issue in the state's history with a record margin. Recent standardized tests show that Denver's kids are improving faster than students in the rest of the state and graduation rates have increased. And, the District now has the funding to expand its early childhood education and full-day kindergarten programs.
Michael also served for two years as Denver Mayor, John Hickenlooper's, Chief of Staff. His service to Mayor Hickenlooper was marked by unprecedented fiscal changes in the city. Michael helped wipe out an historic budget deficit, renegotiate several collective bargaining agreements, and overhaul the way the city supervises its police.
Michael has also led difficult turnarounds in the private sector. Before going to work for Denver, he served as the Managing Director of the Anschutz Investment Company. Though he did not have any previous business experience, Michael became one of the most effective people at the company, leading the company to one of the most profitable deals in its history. His business experience gave him hands on experience managing corporate debt. He led the reorganization of four distressed companies requiring the restructuring of over $3 billion in debt. Cy Harvey, President of Anschutz recently commented on Michael Bennet's success in the Denver Business Journal, "Not only is Michael Bennet one of the brightest and most insightful individuals I have known, he is also one of the most effective."
Michael Bennet comes from a tenacious family with a commitment to public service. After surviving the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II, Michael's grandparents and mother eventually moved to New York to start fresh in 1950. Two generations later, Michael is representative of the how far the family has come -- all the way from tragedy in Poland and fragile beginnings in New York City to the United States Senate.
Michael Bennet is married to Susan Daggett, a natural resources attorney, and has three children, Caroline 11, Halina 9, and Anne 6.