“[The country faces two enormous challenges] one is the lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans, and the other is the need to restore integrity to our government.”

Photo of Michael Bennet

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator representing Colorado

  • Birthdate: November 28, 1964
  • Age:
  • Hometown: New Delhi, India (grew up in Washington, D.C.)
  • Website | @MichaelBennet

Michael Bennet, who has a reputation for bipartisanship, said in announcing his campaign on “CBS This Morning,” that the country faces two enormous challenges. “One is the lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans, and the other is the need to restore integrity to our government.”

Accomplishments: The son of a U.S. State Department official, Bennet was born in New Delhi, India, and grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. After graduating Wesleyan University and Yale Law School, he served in the Clinton Justice Department before moving to Colorado. He ran Denver’s public schools for four years, beginning in 2005. He gained national recognition for his reform efforts, and was appointed in 2009 by then-President Barack Obama to fill a vacant Senate seat. Bennet narrowly won his first full term a year later and subsequently won a second full term by a comfortable margin. Bennet has also worked as chairman of the Democratic Party’s Senate campaign arm, a position that put him in contact with national donors who could help his presidential campaign.

Foreign policy: Bennet called President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement a “catastrophic mistake.” On immigration, he was part of a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Eight” who worked to propose a compromise bill that would have invested billions of dollars to secure U.S. borders as well as offer a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. While the Senate passed the legislation in 2013, the House did not pass the bill and it never became law.

What sets him apart: Bennet has built his reputation on being a policy-oriented moderate, a contrast to many in the Democratic presidential field who have more progressive policy ideas. He casts himself as a truth-teller who can level with voters, saying in his campaign video, “I’m not going to say there’s a simple solution to a problem if I don’t believe there is one.’’ Bennet was planning to announce his candidacy about a month earlier than he did, but had to postpone because he was undergoing successful treatment for prostate cancer. The diagnosis made him more sensitive to the need for Americans to have health insurance, he said.

Platform: Bennet, who has focused much of his career on improving the American education system, says he wants to invest in education and job training. He has also emphasized fixing the nation’s health care insurance system, but has been a vocal opponent of a single-payer health care system championed by Senator Bernie Sanders. Instead, Bennet has advocated for allowing all consumers to buy in to Medicare, a government health program primarily for older Americans.