Hickenlooper, Bennet are right choices | AspenTimes.com

Hickenlooper, Bennet are right choices

Aspen, CO Colorado

The Tea Party may have reinvigorated the Republican Party nationwide, but in Colorado the movement has succeeded in pitting extreme and sub-standard candidates against Democrats in the races for governor and U.S. senator.

Chances are this newspaper would have endorsed Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper for governor and Michael Bennet for U.S. senator regardless, but it’s all the more important to vote for these centrist Democrats now, owing to the fringe candidates that the divided, disorganized GOP has presented.

As a successful businessman and a charismatic, solutions-oriented leader, Hickenlooper has been the man to beat in the governor’s race from day one. We trust Hickenlooper to strike the right balance between protecting Colorado’s environment and stimulating its recession-addled economy, and to lead Coloradans from the common-sense political center.

His opponents have neither the vision nor the experience to lead this state. Republican and Tea Partier Dan Maes has proved himself unelectable, through a series of embarrassing misstatements and questions about his work history. Tom Tancredo, a former Republican congressman now running for governor on the American Constitution Party banner, has distinguished himself mainly by railing against illegal immigration, but has shown no knack for leadership, job creation or policy innovation.

Vote for John Hickenlooper for governor of Colorado.

Like Hickenlooper, incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has experience in both government and the private sector, and offers a pragmatic, problem-solving approach to governance. Bennet was appointed to replace Ken Salazar, who became Secretary of the Interior in the Obama administration, and he made his biggest imprint as the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, working both to trim budgets and improve performance.

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This kind of results-oriented approach to public service is what we need in Washington, D.C., and not the uncompromising rhetoric peddled by candidates like Bennet’s opponent, former Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck. Bennet has proved his willingness to take tough stands if he thinks they can move the state and the country forward, and supports initiatives like Colorado’s new energy economy, which holds the promise of both generating new jobs and reducing dependence on foreign oil. Buck, by contrast, supports increased domestic production from “traditional sources of energy” and doesn’t even address environmental protection or climate change in his list of policy positions. Sounds a lot like “Drill, Baby, Drill,” to us.

We need forward thinking and bipartisan solutions to huge problems like health care, mounting debt and international conflict. Michael Bennet will work harder to address these issues than Buck, who appears to be more of a partisan foot soldier than a real problem-solver.

Vote for Michael Bennet for U.S. senator.