Opinion | Linda Harmon: Sen. Bennet isn’t a communist; he’s doing this for the kids

With all the shenanigans going on in Washington, D.C., Colorado can proudly say our U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is not part of this horrible situation. Unlike many of the Republican senators, one of Bennet’s top priorities is to rebuild the middle class in America.

In Summit County, we know all too well the need for this philosophy. We have a tremendous demand for social programs that help house, feed and educate our youths and provide medical care for the workers who keep our tourism industry going strong. Without government support for these programs, many of our hourly employees who work for local businesses could not afford to live here.

I know my conservative counterparts will say it’s because Bennet is a socialist and his programs are communist. To those people, I say this is a ridiculous accusation. If Bennet is a communist, then so was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, who expanded Social Security and continued the New Deal programs for the hardworking middle class in the 1950s. He also believed in a balanced budget over tax cuts for the wealthy.

Probably the biggest difference between Bennet and those who will be opposing him in November is integrity. He believes Coloradans deserve more financial stability.

“We are the first generation of Americans at risk of handing our children less opportunity, not more,” he said. He explained that Colorado workers already struggling to make ends meet face even greater challenges from the economic crisis of COVID-19.

This motivated one of Bennet’s most important accomplishments, the Child Tax Credit. This extremely valuable legislation provided 39 million families additional financial support, helping over 65 million children in the country, many who live in Summit County.

Many conservatives openly state that the Child Tax Credit is horrible for the economy. But a recent study from the Niskanen Center, a nonprofit think tank, projected that the Child Tax Credit expansion boosted consumer spending by $27 billion, equivalent to over 500,000 new full time jobs at the median wage.

Bennet has worked on getting the Child Tax Credit passed since 2015. He said his passion for this began when he was the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. He explained to the Washington Post that many of the kids were living in poverty, and their parents were often working two or three jobs. “No matter what they do, they can’t get their kids out of poverty.”

“The same is true with people I’ve met across my state over the last 10 years,“ Bennet added. ”They are working really hard. No matter what they do, they can’t afford some combination of housing, health care, higher education or early childhood education.”

It’s clear this senator is not doing this job for the power. He’s not working the long, hard hours representing those of us in Summit County to wine and dine with huge, corporate political action committees that frequently give large donations. According to STAT, the American health-oriented news website, 72 senators received large checks from pharmaceutical industry political action committees in the 2020 election. This included Colorado’s former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

While Bennet did take pharmaceutical political action committee donations in 2016, his recent vote to lower pharmaceutic drug costs has resulted in those donations going away. This is in part why the Republicans have targeted Bennet’s Senate seat as one they need to win. More than likely, all of Bennet’s opponents will be receiving huge donations from many political action committees.

In true Bennet fashion, this doesn’t bother him.

“Like most Americans, I refuse to accept that our economy and our democracy are too broken to fix,” he writes on his website. “For the sake of our children, we must build opportunity for every American and restore integrity to our government.”

Compare this to his leading Republican challenger, Ron Hanks, a Trump loyalist, who attended the Jan. 6 insurrection and whose primary objective is propagandizing the big lie.

Since the working class and children can’t afford to give huge funds to political candidates, it’s safe to say Bennet isn’t working for the same rich Republicans that funded Gardner’s reelection campaign. He is dedicated to representing the low-paid, under-insured and inadequately housed in Summit County.

If this describes you or you care about people in this situation, please vote for Bennet.

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