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Town hall puts Bennet in home stretch

By Dean Shalhoup - Senior Staff Writer | Jan 27, 2020

NASHUA – Sunday’s town hall at Nashua’s Dr. Crisp Elementary School was the second of four events on Sunday’s agenda for Democratic presidential primary candidate Michael Bennet – and the one that put him one step closer to accomplishing his goal of hosting 50 town halls before the Feb. 11 New Hampshire primary.

Bennet, a Colorado Senator since 2009 and former superintendent of Denver public schools, is in what he calls “the home stretch” of his pledge to host 50 town halls in 10 weeks, having passed the 40 mark with Sunday’s Nashua visit.

Also on Sunday, Bennet broke the news that he plans to spend Feb. 3, the day of the Iowa Caucus, in New Hampshire.

“While other candidates are in Iowa, I’ll be holding town halls in New Hampshire to answer every question and earn every vote,” Bennet said in his announcement within hours of his Nashua appearance.

“We are all in on New Hampshire, a state that’s a lot like Colorado, where I’ve felt a connection to the people and the swing-state politics since my first trip here,” he added.

Speaking to his Nashua audience, Bennett half-joked that with all that’s “going on in Washington, I’m very happy to be in New Hampshire.”

The candidate’s first event of the day brought him to The Children’s Place & Parent Education Center in Concord for what was billed a “Roundtable with Every Child Matters,” where he said he spoke with people who told him they are working 2-3 jobs but are still unable to save any money.

“No matter what we do we won’t be able to get our kids into college,” Bennet said, quoting a parent he spoke with.

It’s an example of “the way our (educational) system is working,” where “the quality of education depends on the parents’ income. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, but that’s the way it is today,” Bennet said.

As the primary, and especially the November general election, draw closer, Bennet said that one of the most important questions Americans need to answer is “how we got here, and how we’re going to get out of where we are,” referring to the partisan turmoil that he believes began in earnest when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

Although he said he watched at length the coverage of Obama’s election, and his subsequent victory speech at Grant Park in Chicago, Bennet said he “did not think about the reactions … I didn’t consider at all the reaction that was going to set in” following Obama’s election.

“What happened was this cast of characters, who first called themselves the Tea Party, then The Freedom Caucus, went to Washington espousing not a traditional Republican ideology, not a conventional Republican ideology, but an ideology that was not what the Republicans in my state would agree with,” he said, referring to Colorado.

“They made it impossible for Barack Obama to get anything passed in Congress,” Bennet said. “And they’re still there.”

After departing Nashua, Bennet headed for Chester for a mid-afternoon house party at the home of Chester selectman Steve D’Angelo, then appeared at a similar event Sunday evening at the Manchester home of supporter Pat Kalik.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.

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