Senator Michael Bennet visits UCCS, urges students to vote

November 08, 2016

Halle Thornton

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     Though it didn’t receive as much attention as Donald Trump’s visit to the campus, Senator Michael Bennet’s appearance at the University Plaza on Nov. 1 attracted a group of around five protesters that interrupted the Colorado senator during his discussion on the importance of the students to vote.

     Bennet, elected to the senate in November 2010, said that our campus matters, even though it may seem like a student’s vote is insignificant.

     “Students should not be voting at 50 percent; they should be voting at 80-90 percent,” said Bennet.

     He added that casting a vote is the only way for citizens to have a policy outcome aligned with what they want.

     “Your vote does make a difference. In a state like Colorado, it makes a huge difference. This campus can tip the election,” said Bennett.

     Bennet also tied the importance of voting to his disapproval of Republican presidential candidate Trump.

     He said that what Trump has said about immigrants and other demographics is at war with who we are as Americans, and this is a significant cause for concern.

     “There has not been a political party that deserves to lose more than the National Republican Party deserves to lose, because they nominated Donald Trump as their presidential candidate, a reality TV star who is absolutely unqualified to do the job,” he said.

     “I can’t do this without your help.”

     Bennet does not believe that Trump will be a satisfactory representative of the U.S.

     “I don’t believe that Trump represents conventional Republican thought in the state of Colorado, much less democratic thought,” said Bennet.

     Bennet said that while it is important to have the opportunity to renegotiate student loans, the flaws in the education system are much more fundamental; college simply costs too much.

     “This is the first generation of Coloradans that are graduating from college on average with debt that will take 22 years to pay back,” said Bennet.

     The opportunity to represent everybody is what inspires Bennet as a senator, even those who did not vote for him, he said.

     “I have not had a hard time finding democrats and republicans to work with to pass important legislation like the Secondary (Education) Act,” said Bennet, referring to a bill passed with the aim of improving early childhood education.

     A group of protestors interrupted the event and refused to move. Their repeated chant, “stop funding the war,” caused Bennet to end his speech.

     Bennet left his audience with the following: “please, vote, vote, vote, vote, vote. It’s the most important thing you can do.”