Still in the fight

MADELINE HUGHES/Staff photoSen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., answered questions from Salem residents at a campaign stop at Coffee Coffee Friday morning. 

SALEM, N.H. — It’s going to be a balancing act for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., to balance his Constitutional duties and get his name out as a 2020 Democratic presidential contender. As the potential for an impeachment trial looks likely to occur early next year

“We’re just going to have to do it… it is what it is, we have a Constitutional responsibility, I do, and when I’m not doing that there I’ll keep campaigning here,” Bennet said.

The presidential hopeful pledged to hold 50 town halls in New Hampshire before the state's first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 11. Bennet’s campaign has struggled to get momentum in the polls and with donors. He has not been on a national debate stage since July when the second Democratic debate was held in Detroit.

The former businessman turned Denver Public Schools superintendent who became a two-term senator from a purple state touted his resume as the reason why he is the best candidate to run against President Donald Trump. Bennet talked about how his positions on economic issues and climate change would challenge voters to make decisions based on facts.

“He’s run on a lie, and I think we can expose that lie,” Bennet said.

Bennet said he is in the race to fight for the 95,000 children he was in charge of in the Denver Public Schools who were mostly low income. Fighting for those students and children across the country, Bennet sees his education plans as the best way to move forward and make change.

"My focus isn’t the same as the other candidates in this race who have called for free college," Bennet said. "I think what we need is free preschool in this country and we have to figure out what to do with the 70% of kids who are graduating from high school and not going to college and how we put them in the position to earn a living wage when they graduate, not just a minimum wage. That would transform the lives of millions of Americans and transform the American economy.

“I believe that one of the most difficult challenges we have as a country is that our education system as a whole is reinforcing income inequality we have rather than liberating people from it because the best predictor of a kid’s education is their income,” Bennet said. “We have to change that. I think as president I could lead the country in a discussion of how to pull our education system into the 21st century.”

Bennet is still holding out hope that meeting with people in their communities will be the trick to ultimately securing the nomination.

“It’s not unknown in New Hampshire politics that people who are running with not the most money, running with not the name recognition, that one step after another doing these meetings after another that you build momentum and you get to a point where people are actually making decisions,” Bennet said. “My goal always has been to be in this race when people in New Hampshire were making the decisions, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Bennet said he is still in the fight and wants to reach people who still do not recognize his name.

Still undecided Democratic voter Patty Breault recently moved to Salem and had yet to hear about Bennet. The former Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident was leaning towards Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, but her interest was piqued by the fellow westerner.

“I understand where he is coming from, and people from the west, like Colorado, pay more attention to issues like climate change,” Breault said. She added that his background in running a diverse school system was an added plus.

“I grew up in a racially charged Chicago neighborhood, and I know that hate divides,” Breault said. “I want to elect someone who can address that issue without instigating more hatred.”

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