Saturday, March 14, 2009

Meet and greet with Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)

A couple days back I got an e-mail about Senator Bennet's visit to Boulder (Bennet wiki).  Bennet is the replacement for now-Secretary Ken Salazar, and will be up for election in 2010.
The gathering was at a South Boulder/Shanahan Ridge home, about 6 miles away.  Figured I'd ride my bike - unfortunately, it was uphill for a good bit, and the ride took me about 40 minutes.  At least it was a good day for a bike ride!

Senator Bennet gave a speech, and I got in toward the end.  Told a couple cute stories about his kids - he was head of the Denver public school system before his appointment to the Senate.  Then there was a Q&A session.

A wide range of questions - climate change/cap-and-trade (he will vote for it), card check (undecided), school system reform (said existing system was not working except for some pockets - presumably, like Denver).  Someone asked about bank nationalization, and he said "at 80% owned by the federal government, it's pretty much nationalized!" [Talking about AIG; the US government owns 36% of Citi.]  But the fear of "socialism" keeps them from calling nationalization just that.  Talked about how he was considered for the Education Secretary's post that eventually went to Arne Duncan, and how Obama personally called him (Bennet) to tell him he was not selected.  Bennet was apparently one of the early supporters of Obama's presidential bid, so "nobody can try to separate me from Obama!"
A peace-nik asked him about President Obama's plans for Afghanistan - "war is not the answer!"  His response - there are dangerous elements in Afghanistan and along the border with Pakistan, so "you and I are probably not on the same page at this time."  Yay!

As expected, with a crowd of about 100, time ran out.  He remained for a few minutes, talking with people, and I got a chance to say hello.  Thanked him for his reply to the Afghanistan question - he said yes, we can't just up-and-leave. [Words to that effect.]
He asked me where I was from - "India." "Which part?" "Bombay." "I was born in Delhi!"  His father worked in the US Consulate in the 60s, so his parents lived there for 4 years, he was there for one.  He apparently visited India in the '90s; "I would love to go back!"  You should, Senator!

Definitely not a typical politician, but as he himself said, he won't be for a couple years (as people keep reminding him he was only appointed!)  Oh well (to his eventual conversion).  I like him, though, and who knows - maybe I might even campaign for him!


EmilyRSVP said...

Just wondering, is Michael Bennet the first Indian-born U.S. Senator?

RS said...

Very likely! There was at least one Indian American Congressman, Dalip Singh Saund. This Wiki article seems incomplete, though:

Since it does not include Bennet!