Presidential hopeful, Michael Farrand Bennett, U. S. Senator (Colorado) made a stopover in Sunflower last week. Bennett who is a former Colorado Public School Superintendent that formally announced his presidential candidacy on May 2, told the students of the Sunflower County Freedom Project that one of the main focuses of his campaign will be education.
He alluded that as being one of the main reasons why he's running for president. “We've got to change the educational system so that it is actually allowing people to liberate themselves from the circumstances where they find themselves instead of having to keep them where they are, which is why what you're doing here is so incredibly important,” Bennett said.
Having worked in the public school system, Bennett said he has a different set of experiences than the other candidates in the race. He is an advocate for public education, says that everybody should have an opportunity to go to preschool and that the schools need to be set up for this century and not the last century. Bennett said people should be able to attend college without going into insurmountable debt.
During the brief session in Sunflower, students had the opportunity to ask prepared questions that ranged from what his plans will be if he is not elected president, to his position on mass incarceration in prisons.
In response, the 54-year-old Senator said that he plans to run for re-election to the Senate if his presidential campaign is not successful.
He also expressed that mass incarceration is one of the major challenges of our time. “I believe that you can draw a straight line back through American history, through slavery, through Jim Crow, through the red lining that was done in the banking system and the real estate system that didn't allow people, African Americans in particular, to buy houses in certain areas.”
Bennett said, “I think you can draw a straight line from that to mass incarceration.” He also shared his thoughts on housing and rehabilitating criminals and said that the U.S. has a larger population of African-Americans locked away than anywhere else in the world.
Bennett applauded the students for the excellence of their questions and said that they touched on things that other citizens are concerned about. He likened the questions to the type he is asked during Town Hall style meetings.
If he is successful with his presidential bid, he pledged to be visible and not overlook rural America as many candidates have done and said he intends to spend his time and effort in many places that have been previously overlooked.
In addition to his position on education, Bennett also had a message for local farmers with regard to decisions made by President Trump. “I think that he has created a trade policy that provokes retaliation by China, the Canadians and the Europeans. And that’s a tax, those tariffs, that our producers, our farmers are having to pay and I think that’s really unfair.”
Citing drought and other conditions that are affecting the nation’s producers, Bennett added, “I think the President was right to call a question on China, but I think he did it in exactly the wrong way.”
Bennett also stated that rural communities have been ignored “for far too long” and he believes something should be done to invest in those areas. “I believe that we rise and fall together as a country, and we rise and fall together as states.”
Bennett said he understands that some people believe the President is “the Master of the Deal.” However, he suggests that they should evaluate the President based on the results. “And I say if his results aren’t good, then they should choose somebody else for president,” Bennett said.