Washington, D.C. - Today, during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Michael Bennet was sworn-in as the junior United States Senator from Colorado. Vice-President Joe Biden administered the oath of office. Senator Bennet, who brings a proven track record as a leader on complex issues in both the public and private sectors, will fill the remaining two years of recently-confirmed Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's term before standing for election in 2010.
"I am honored to serve the State of Colorado as a U.S. Senator," said Sen. Bennet. "Our state and our nation are facing serious challenges. It will take innovative leadership, pragmatic problem-solving, and a new approach to politics in order to stabilize our economy and get America back to work. My experiences, not only in public service but also in business, have taught me that when people come together, put aside partisan differences, and focus on sensible solutions, we can accomplish great things."
Sen. Bennet, who previously served as the superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, brings a unique blend of public and private sector experience. In 2005, Bennet inherited a school district struggling with flat achievement rates and crippling budgetary cuts. As superintendent Michael worked tirelessly to improve achievement and graduation rates, while also ending the annual cycle of budget cuts. Bennet also worked to win voter approval on the school district's ProComp program, a nationally recognized differentiated pay system. Although controversial, the program passed with nearly 80% of Denver teachers' support and is a national model.
Prior to his time at DPS, Michael served from 2003 to 2005 years as Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's Chief of Staff. Michael oversaw the balancing of an historic budget deficit, the renegotiation of several collective bargaining agreements, and a complete redesign of the police oversight function. Michael, at the direction of the Mayor, was widely credited with putting together a first rate, diverse team to lead the City through unprecedented fiscal challenges.
Before joining Mayor Hickenlooper's administration, Michael was a Managing Director of the Anschutz Investment Company, where he had direct responsibility for the investment of over $500 million. He led the reorganization of four distressed companies and restructuring of over $3 billion in debt.
"I look forward to carrying on the hard work that Secretary Salazar did on behalf of the people of Colorado," said Sen. Bennet. "Working with Sen. Udall and President Obama on the important issues facing Colorado's families, it will be my mission every day in the Senate to represent all corners of the state and do everything in my power to keep Colorado the special place it is to all Coloradans."