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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ritter Introduces Bennett in N. Colorado

Berthoud Recorder Staff

Gov. Bill Ritter started his State of the State tour in Northern Colorado Friday. During his first stop in Loveland, Ritter introduced Michael Bennett, his choice to replace Sen. Ken Salazar.
 
Ritter and Bennett arrived a few minutes early for a public open forum at the Loveland Museum/Gallery, and were welcomed by a small gathering of community leaders, including former State Sen. Stan Matsunaka and former State Rep. Bill Kauffman. The main event in the Foote Gallery was filled to capacity and spilled out into the hallway. Museum officials estimated the attendance at over 200 people. Some late arrivals were not allowed to enter and asked to attend the tour’s later event in Fort Collins.

During both the welcome and open forum, Ritter emphasized his concerns and plans to solve the severe budget challenges facing the state. He made special mention of higher education and transportation needs related to the key interests of Northern Colorado communities.
 
Senator-designate Michael Bennett covered a wide range of policy issues after the governor’s introduction and description of the decision process that elevated Bennett from Denver Public School Superintendent to the nation’s capital. Questions and answers from the audience filled the remainder of the hour until Ritter and Bennett departed for Fort Collins.

Ritter surprised almost everyone with his choice of the former Denver Public Schools superintendent, and Berthoud businessman Eric Weedin recalls his first reaction was “Like most people… Who?”

“I think it’s too early to tell what kind of senator he will be, but it was readily apparent that Bennett is extremely bright and understands conflict issues,” Weedin said, adding, “He also knows what areas he needs to work on to effectively represent our state.

Fort Collins Republican Tom Lynch said, like most people, he doesn’t know a lot about Bennett, but that could be a good thing. “He’s only got a couple of years to establish a reputation,” which Lynch says gives the Republican party an opportunity to take that seat in 2010.”

But Lynch added, “We can’t really take him for granted.”

Berthoud Town Trustee Jeff Hindman said he was unsure at first, but “after Ritter explained his process, it made sense.”

Hindman said Ritter called other senators and asked them what it takes to be a good senator, and then he picked the person he felt best fit that job description. “He did what a good manager does, which is find a job and find a good person for the job,” Hindman added.

Hindman believes the choice shows a larger movement within the party to find people who are pragmatic, willing to work across the aisle and will put ideas into action to fix problems. “He [Bennett] got the Denver teachers’ union to compromise and built consensus, which is next to impossible.” Ultimately,” he said, “Ritter picked the guy who would be a good problem solver.”

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N Ritter DSC 2110 DC.tif0009 Ritter Introduces Bennett in N. Colorado

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<p><span style=”font-size: small;”><strong>Ritter, Bennett Meet and Greet in Loveland</strong></span></p>
<p>Gov. Ritter (left) and Senator-designate Michael Bennett made two stops in northern ColoradoLoveland. during the State of the State tour Friday. Area residents Ralph and Caroline Trenary and Eric Weedin (far right) had the chance to meet Bennett and find out more about him at the public gathering in Loveland.</p>

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