Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado on Opportunities for Reform

Business Forward hosted Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado yesterday for a briefing with our national network of entrepreneurs, investors, senior executives, and small business owners. Senator Bennet, who previously served as the superintendent of Denver schools, discussed education reform, immigration, and other issues facing the Senate. Below are some of the key takeaways from the discussion.

On college:

We’ve made college so unaffordable that I’ve got kids showing up at my town halls in tears, literally, because they’re 26 or 27 or 28 and they’re so consumed by paying back their student loans that they can’t make the customary choices that many of us take for granted in our lives.

On school choice:

I think what’s important is that when a kid and a family go to school that they feel they are making an affirmative choice to go to that school…it’s important for people to truly believe that they are making an affirmative choice to put my child in that school because when you have that feeling you get a sense that you want to protect it and fight for it.

Bennet also lent insight on the current immigration crisis:

This is one of those times when we need everybody coming together and say ‘this is not acceptable, this is not consistent with who we are as America.’

The result of policies being conducted in the name of the American people and the only way for that to change is for the American people to say ‘we are not going to tolerate these kind of policies.’

And on the current state of politics:

When the founders were setting up this country they knew they were doing something that nobody else had done before. They were creating a democratic republic …They knew we would have disagreement. The whole point of being in a republic was there wouldn’t be a tyrant to tell you what to do…Right now we are using their really elegant mechanism to have disputes, rather than to resolve disputes.

Listen to the full conference call with Senator Bennet here.

Image courtesy of Suzanne Fitzgerald.