When I was growing up, it was an article of faith that if you worked hard, you could build a better future. For my mom and her parents, this was more than faith — it was a central fact of their lives.
As Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust and came here with nothing but each other, America was a beacon of opportunity: a place to rebuild their shattered lives and provide the next generation more opportunity.
When they arrived, my mom (the only one who spoke English) enrolled in public school, and my grandparents started a small business. From them, I inherited my belief that, as Americans, we should extend opportunity so more people can rise through hard work.
My town halls across Colorado over the past 13 years have conjured a different picture — an economy where it’s harder for families to move ahead.
Across the state, people are working incredibly hard but still can’t afford some combination of housing, health care, child care, or higher education. They can’t save or afford a middle-class life, and rising costs from gas to rent make it harder.
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Their struggles reflect an economy that for the past 50 years has worked well for the wealthiest Americans, but poorly for everyone else.
One reason is that Washington has spent the past two decades frittering away trillions of dollars on tax cuts for the wealthy, making inequality worse, instead of investing in our families and future.
In Colorado, this failure has translated into crumbling roads; housing stock that hasn’t kept pace with a growing population; schools that failed to prepare kids to earn a living wage; and a health care system that costs too much.
Since arriving in the Senate, I’ve fought for an economy that grows for everybody — not just the people at the very top. And, over the past 18 months, we’ve taken important steps toward that goal, even though we have much further to go.
After the worst public health crisis in a century, we passed the American Rescue Plan. It helped us beat the virus and reopen our communities and schools. It gave Summit, Eagle, Pitkin, and other mountain communities resources to address rising housing costs, public safety, and the mental health crisis.
It included my bill to expand the Child Tax Credit, which represents the biggest tax cut for working families in generations. It provided virtually every family in Colorado an average of $450 per month last year. Ninety percent of Colorado kids benefited from the CTC. It dramatically cut child poverty and gave families a lifeline against inflation.
Last year, we passed a bipartisan infrastructure law that will fix our roads and bridges and help us compete with China. Colorado has already begun to use the funds to repair Interstate 70 — a critical gateway to our mountain communities. Based on a bipartisan bill I wrote in Colorado, the law also makes historic strides in broadband to connect every family, farmer, and small business to affordable, high-speed Internet.
Congress also passed a budget with much-needed investments in local communities. Now Minturn is building a new water tank. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office is expanding its mental health response team. And, Vail and Eagle public transit authorities are making overdue improvements.
And this summer, we passed the Inflation Reduction Act — the most significant climate investment in history to deploy clean energy, boost manufacturing for wind, solar, and batteries at home, help rural communities transition, and invest nearly $30 billion in drought, conservation, forest health, and environmentally friendly farming.
Together, these policies will cut America’s climate pollution 40% by the end of the decade.
The next generation of Coloradans expects us to hand them a future defined by more opportunity, not less. A future where families aren’t drowning with rising costs and flat wages; hard work translates into security and dignity; our economy works for everyone, not only the wealthiest few.
This is all possible if we set aside ideology, focus on solutions, and lift up what is best in Colorado and the country.
That is why I am running for reelection. I would be honored to have your support.
Michael Bennet is the incumbent candidate running to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate.