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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 23, 20177min451

… Nor of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the billionaire, education-reform advocate, top-dollar GOP donor and now Trump administration Cabinet member. You’ll recall Colorado’s Democratic senior U.S. senator had voted against her confirmation earlier this year.

In response to a Washington Post headline last week — “Trump seeks deep cuts to public education programs in pursuit of school choice” — Bennet tweeted his familiar position on using public funds to pay students’ tuition at private schools:

That drew this response — also a familiar counterpoint in the perennial debate over school vouchers. The author called out Bennet for denying children in low-income households the kinds of educational opportunities he easily can afford for his own kids:

Actually, it’s unclear what kind of school any of Bennet’s three children currently attends; we reached out to Bennet spokeswoman Laurie Cipriano for details, and when she follows up, we’ll share. (A 2010 news profile of Bennet — after he was appointed to his Senate seat to a fill a vacancy but while he was campaigning for a full term in that year’s fall election — noted the Bennets had moved their oldest daughter from a private Denver school to a public one years earlier.)

What is a matter of record is that Bennet himself, the son of a prominent political dignitary in a succession of Democratic presidential administrations, attended the private St. Albans School while growing up in Washington, D.C. St. Albans is the kind  of go-to prep program that serves a lot of that city’s political elite — especially given the dismal state of the public schools there.

So, that won’t sit well with Bennet’s detractors, who would have him support publicly funded vouchers for poor kids to get the same kind of schooling that prepared him for Wesleyan University and Yale Law School. And it can’t help matters any for Bennet in the eyes of his critics on this issue that he is also one of the wealthier members of the U.S. Senate, with an estimated net worth of $13.2 million as of 2014, according the website insidegov.com.

(That still leaves him a mere pauper next to No. 1 Jared Polis, Colorado’s representative from the 2nd Congressional District, who is worth $388 million; Bennet is a good bit wealthier than everyone else in the state’s Washington delegation. Hey, maybe there’s a separate blog post in this…)

Bennet is of course no piker when it comes to some of the other education reforms long advocated in Republican circles by DeVos and others. He has been a champion of charter schools, in particular, which flourished in Denver Public Schools during Bennet’s previous tenure as the district’s superintendent.

Indeed, he resides squarely within his party’s pro-education reform wing and has won the praise and friendship of many committed Colorado school-choicers, including prominent Republicans.

At the same time, he has drawn opposition through the years from his own party’s labor-left wing over that very same support for education reforms.

School vouchers, however, represent a line few in Bennet’s party have been willing to cross. For basic philosophical reasons as well as hardball political ones, a pro-voucher Democrat is about as common as a pro-abortion rights Republican.

Nevertheless, is Bennet displaying a double-standard on the issue? Is it fair to expect him or anyone else who can afford a private-school education to support using tax dollars to extend that opportunity to kids of limited means?


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinMarch 7, 201711min359

While his vote may be in the minority regarding Neil Gorsuch's confirmation as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet's position and intent toward the process and Gorsuch himself have fueled political speculation and concerns over consequences. Gorsuch, a Colorado native and Denver-based federal appeals court judge, was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the seat vacated a year ago by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch, the son of the late Anne Gorsuch who was EPA chief under Ronald Reagan, would be the second Coloradan on the Supreme Court. Byron “Whizzer” White retired in 1993.



Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 21, 20176min279
Liberal activists are tired of waiting to ambush any event put on by Sen. Cory Gardner, so they’re staging a Gardner event without him. The “in absentia town hall” is Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Byers Middle School at 105 S. Pearl St. in Denver. Members of Congress are on a break from Washington this week, but public […]

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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinFebruary 20, 20177min299

One of Colorado's U.S. Senators is strongly opposed to a measure that would roll back an Obama administration rule to prevent the flaring and wasting of methane and natural gas developed on public and tribal lands, while the second is undecided. The rule was among several environmental regulations issued in the last days of the Obama administration. The U.S. House invoked the rarely used Congressional Review Act to reverse the rule. Colorado Republican U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman voted for House Joint Resolution 36 to repeal the rule on Feb. 3, while Democratic U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis voted to keep the rule in place. The measure passed by a 221-191 tally. It had yet to have its first Senate committee hearing.


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David O. WilliamsDavid O. WilliamsDecember 22, 201612min381

Colleges and universities across Colorado are grappling with whether the incoming Trump administration will strip away federal deportation protections for undocumented students, most of whom came to the state at a very young age and pay in-state tuition under Colorado law. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was signed as an executive action by President Barack Obama in 2012. The policy provides deportation protection and work visas for law-abiding, undocumented students who came here as children and fit certain age criteria. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to reverse Obama’s executive actions, including DACA, but has since hinted he may “work something out” for undocumented college students whose parents brought them to the United States at a very young age.