Who is Michael Bennet? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate


Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado surprised the public when he gave a fiery speech in January 2019 during the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, accusing Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas of not showing genuine empathy for government workers.

"These crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take," Bennet said. "When the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013, my state was flooded."

Bennet acknowledged his comments were out of the ordinary for a politician who seldom rises to contradict someone on the other side.

The Colorado senator, who emphasizes the importance of bipartisanship, wants to "reduce extreme partisanship" by outlawing gerrymandering. He also opposes former members of Congress from being able to become lobbyists, an idea supported by Cruz and Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Bennet sees the large number of candidates running as an opportunity for a "competition of ideas." He’s running to address economic mobility and restore integrity to the U.S. government, he said when he announced his presidential bid in May on "CBS This Morning." His goals for the economy include plans to pass paid family leave and raise the minimum wage. He also wants to cut taxes for middle class families and work to make U.S. workers out-compete China in the industries of the future.

In May 2019, Bennet proposed a $1 trillion fund to propel the innovation of technologies to address climate change. His climate change plan also includes a target of achieving "100 percent clean, net-zero emissions" by 2050 and conserving 30% of America’s lands and oceans by 2030.

Bennet previously served as chief of staff to John Hickenlooper, who was the mayor of Denver and is now a Democratic presidential candidate himself. Other roles Bennet held include Denver Public Schools superintendent and managing director of Anschutz Investment Co.

Name: Michael Bennet

Current occupation: U.S. senator from Colorado

Party: Democratic

Federal offices: Counsel to U.S. deputy attorney general, 1995-97; U.S. Senate, 2009-present.

Key votes: Voted to ease Dodd-Frank rules for banks in 2018, voted in favor of bill addressing opioid epidemic in 2018, voted against the completion of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2013.

State and local offices: Chief of staff to then mayor of Denver, 2020 presidential candidate John Hickenlooper, 2003-2005; Denver Public Schools superintendent, 2005-2009.

Private sector work: Managing director of Anschutz Investment Co.

Military: None.

Books authored/co-authored: "The Land of Flickering Lights," 2019.

Education: B.A., Wesleyan University, 1987; J.D. Yale Law School, 1993.

Birth date: November 28, 1964

Personal life: Bennet is married to Susan Daggett, a natural resources, environmental and land use attorney. They have three daughters.

Religion: He was raised with Jewish and Christian traditions.

Top issues: Paid family leave, raising minimum wage, reducing carbon emissions.

Endorsements: No news of major endorsements.

Major donors: Some of Bennet’s largest donors for the 2016 election were the United States Steel Corporation PAC, the Laborers’ International Union and the American Dental Association PAC.

Miscellaneous: In April, Bennet announced that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A spokeswoman for the senator said that surgery he underwent before officially announcing his candidacy was "completely successful."

Other coverage: PolitiFact's Truth-O-MeterInterview on "PBS NewsHour", June 2019; Town hall on CNN, May 2019; Interview on "CBS This Morning," May 2019; Interview on "Morning Joe," May 2019

Campaign website: https://michaelbennet.com