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On the issues: Colorado Democratic Senate candidate Michael Bennet

Incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet leads the Colorado senate election by 15.2 points over Republican candidate Darryl Glenn with three weeks remaining until election day.

As a businessmen and former Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, he is well known for working across party lines and taking on “disfunction in Washington” to help benefit Colorado citizens.

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Serving in the Senate since 2009, he sits on the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, the Finance committee, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee since 2013.

Bennet appeals to a moderate Democratic demographic, while his opponent appeals to constitutional conservatives. Darryl Glenn has said that Bennet works well at “representing Washington.”

Education

Sitting on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, he helped reform No Child Left Behind.

Bennet also co-sponsored the Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency Act, a bipartisan bill that works to decrease the complexity of applying for student aid and aims to lower the number of questions on FASFA application from 180 to two.

Bennet supports income based student loan repayment, increased Pell Grant funding and loan refinancing and in terms of student debt; he said there is no issue he hears about more.

Health Care

Bennet worked on a bipartisan measure to increase Medicaid and Medicare access specifically in rural areas and has also worked on legislation to help Medicare reduce the number of patients readmitted to hospitals.

Other bipartisan work he has been involved with include a bill to support and expand research in relation to infant deaths and disabilities corresponding with preterm births.

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Bennet will continue work to improve the Affordable Care Act and make out-of-pocket health insurance costs lower for people, according to his campaign website.

Immigration

Bennet strongly supported the DREAM Act that passed in 2010, and has worked to encourage Department of Homeland Security to stop deporting young people who came to the U.S. as children.

He also worked jointly with seven other senators in a bipartisan effort to create a pathway to citizenship.

Veterans’ Rights

Known for working across the line in Congress, he worked with Colorado’s Republican representatives to allow better access to medical care for veterans, specifically those who live more than 40 miles away from an approved V.A. clinic.

National Security

Bennet helped to add 19,000 border patrol agents and worked to add additional screening for those traveling to the U.S. from Middle East war zones such as Iraq and Syria, according to his website.

He opposed defense cuts and voted in favor of military pay raises and increased benefits for service members.

Student Voices

Students across campus were divided in who they are supporting for senate.

“He is a more ‘for the people’ kind of guy… and he doesn’t mind working with other people,” CSU freshman Anton Faust said.

However, other students said they feel Bennet is out of touch with his constituents.

“I do not like Bennet,” CSU sophomore Brian Hartley said. “For one, I am exactly opposite of Bennet on most issues, but at least when I wrote to (Mark) Udall his responses were, ‘We disagree on this.’ Bennet doesn’t even take the time to acknowledge (us), he is not in touch with the people.”

Other students said they do not support him because of his stance on policy.

“I do not like Bennet’s support of Amendment 69 because it puts unnecessary burden on small businesses,” said Tristan Oliver, computer science senior.

Voters can turn in their ballots to the Lory Student Center North Ballroom between now and Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. Additional details and voting information can be found here.

Erin Krigger can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @littleekrig

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