Saturday, January 03, 2009

Ritter taps Bennet for Senate

Here's an article from the Rocky Mountain News:

In 2005, the Denver Board of Education plucked Bennet from the mayor's office, to become Denver Public Schools superintendent, and he made his name reforming a pay-for-performance plan and wrestling with budget challenges.

"His strengths are that he has clearly got a lot of ability. Running the Denver school system without it blowing up is probably one of the more impossible jobs in the state," said political consultant Paul Talmey of Talmey-Drake Research & Strategy.

The article also highlights what a win this is for school reformers:

Winners and losers


* Education reformers

Michael Bennet has built a reputation for innovation, including solutions that have at times angered traditionalists. Sen. Chris Romer, a Denver Democrat and fellow reformer, called him "one of the best intellectuals I know."


* Unions

Several union leaders said Friday that they want to see what it's like to work with Bennet, but he has his detractors, especially among the teachers union. Bennet had to cut that union's power to achieve his biggest reforms, and another union - the Teamsters - endorsed Joan Fitz-Gerald for the Senate seat, even though she was seen as a long shot.


Ritter taps Bennet for Senate

Surprise move puts DPS chief in Salazar's seat

Published January 3, 2009 at 12:05 a.m.

Gov. Bill Ritter shattered conventional wisdom in tapping the popular but politically untested Michael Bennet, superintendent of Denver Public Schools, as the U.S. Senate replacement for Interior secretary nominee Ken Salazar.

The surprising move, expected to be announced at a state Capitol news conference today, perplexed many political insiders, most of whom considered Bennet the dark horse candidate in a field crowded with big-name political veterans like Bennet's old boss, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, as well as outgoing Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

To some, the reaction wasn't head-scratching.

It was jaw-dropping.

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