Sen. Michael Bennet
I spent some more time yesterday with Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and am even more convinced that this is the single most important race in the country for ed reformers. With the renewal of Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind coming up in Congress, the importance of having a former superintendent who is a true reformer cannot be overstated. Plus, he is such a good guy, a pragmatic centrist, a seasoned businessman, honest as the day is long, no ego, and just wants what's best for this country. There are so few people like him in politics – if he loses, it will be a sad day for our country. Intrade shows him only 34% likely to win, so he has his work cut out for him and REALLY needs our support, so please do so at: www.actblue.com/page/dferjune09. Below are appeals from ed reformers Jon Sackler and Richard Barth, and here's what I sent around after meeting Sen. Bennet last June (http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/01/sen-michael-bennet-rocks.html):
STOP THE PRESSES!!! I spent two hours with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) on Friday afternoon and he ROCKS! He's incredibly smart (among other things, he was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal), highly accomplished in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors (he's already applying his business expertise on the Senate Banking Committee, trying to mitigate, as he puts it, "unintended consequences"), and is a really nice, down-to-earth, high-integrity person. You don't find this mix very often -- especially in a politician! I'd strongly support him even if he weren't an innovative leader in education reform -- which he is.
Every education reformer in the country should, if not meet him, at least be very familiar with him because he is already leading a major school reform effort in the Senate and his stature and influence will only grow as he establishes himself -- he's only been in the Senate for four months! This all depends, of course, on whether he gets elected in Nov. 2010 -- no mean feat, given that he was not elected but rather appointed to fill the seat vacated when Ken Salazar was appointed Secretary of the Interior. If ends up serving in the Senate for many years, I have no doubt that he will become one of the country's most powerful, energetic and influential advocates of genuine education reform.