November 22nd, 2009
02:03 PM ET
12 years ago

Freshman Dem: Passing health care reform worth losing my seat

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Colorado Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet said Sunday that he is ready to lose his seat if that's what is necessary to pass a health care reform bill."]
Washington (CNN) – A freshman Democratic senator said Sunday that he will support his party’s efforts to pass health care reform legislation even if that means losing his seat in next year’s midterm elections.

“If you get to the final point and you are a critical vote for health care reform and every piece of evidence tells you if you support the bill you will lose your job, would you cast the vote and lose your job?” CNN’s John King asked Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado on Sunday’s State of the Union.

“Yes,” Bennet bluntly and simply replied.

Bennet was appointed by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter to replace Sen. Ken Salazar, who stepped down from the Senate to serve as President Obama’s Interior Secretary. Bennet, who was superintendent of the Denver public school system prior to his appointment, will have to seek election to the seat for the first time in 2010.

Related: West is tough terrain for Democrats

Filed under: Colorado • Health care • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. A. Smith, Oregon

    It is literally unthinkable for a Republican Lawmaker to risk losing a future election on a single issue.

    Its entirely refreshing the business as usual as portrayed by the Republican Party for the past 8 years is coming to a end.

    When a freshman Democrat places the ethical and moral prevailing issue of the ages before themselves, it gives all Americans Hope!

    Colorado Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet, thank you for helping to restore the tarred and tarnished image of US Senators.

    The Democratic Party, YES WE CAN!

    November 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. jkm

    Have these idiots even READ the new bill? I sincerely doubt it! That is why I am totally against it! I will never allow you democrats to stuff crap down America's throat just because you think your majority in the Senate is a "mandate". It is not, and trust me in 2010 you will see a loss of multiple democratic positions due to your "great healt care saga".

    November 22, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. JW

    "No where in your rambling incoherent response did you come close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. We are all dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul."

    This quote (from the movie Billy Madison) pretty much sums up every argument I've heard from those in favor of universal health care.

    November 22, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Dan in FL

    Sometimes leadership is doing what you believe is right even if you can't convince everyone to go along with you at the time. It is ultimately Senator Bennet's responsibility to justify his actions to the people, not just stick it in their face. If Senator Bennet's constituents ultimately disagree with how he has represented them, then they have the right to remove him from office. However, the constant fear and hate-mongering that surrounds the health care debate has made any sort of rational discussion nearly impossible.

    November 22, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. lonnie

    when americans realize that there are NO politicians . . in either party. . . . that care what YOU as americans think you will sleep a lot better at night. . . . . . .

    November 22, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. haren

    Now John King should ask same type of question to republican.
    When they will represent average US citizen instead of insurance agency?
    They will vote to help poor people in their district or they will side with rich people?

    November 22, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. Joe

    Michael Bennet is an honorable man to sacrifice his job for what is best for the country. He knows in a swing state that the teabaggers and big corporations will tear him apart for doing what is right. Jesus sacrificied himself too for his people.

    November 22, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Just Say No to Socialism

    So basically he is saying it is more important to represent his party than the people from his state. And these clowns wonder why the Amercian people are tired of them!

    November 22, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. Jay

    One question: Is tort reform included in the health care "reform" bill. If not, then it is dead on arrival, since worthless trial lawyers (ie-most of our career politicians) will continue to be able to level baseless lawsuits on medical providers with no skin off their nose, and malpractice insurance will continue to skyrocket.

    November 22, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. horrified

    What an arrogant, patronizing jerk!

    November 22, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Ron

    Personally, regardless of party, a representative should do just that represent his/her constituency and not party line. People don't vote to elect people who vote party line........ or do they?

    The only way we the people are ever going to get a fair shake and meaningful Health Care is to force all the 535 to drop their special, just for them, Golden Health Care plan and join in the one they put together for The People, after all aren't they supposed to be JUST LIKE US? Oops I've let the cat out of the bag they are not like us they're special, so deserving of special privileges are they!

    If they don't vote the way you think they should vote against them in the next election that is the only choice you have so just watch them check their voting record on line and vote your conscience take our country back from these self created special privileged 535 yahoos.

    November 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Liberal4Obama

    A man that thinks achieving the job is more important than self preservation.

    Hey GOP that is what loving your country is all about.

    November 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Susan

    At last, a member of congress who is willing to put the well being of US citizens ahead of his/her career. Now that's refreshing!

    November 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. Steve

    This guy just got my vote! We need more politicians like Senator Bennet and Representative Alan Grayson (Florida).

    November 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Meidy

    The scenario posed is "you would lose your seat with a yes vote" meaning his constituents don't support health care reform. But he still would vote yes. So Gov't knows best? That's the whole problem in this country....and it's on both sides of the aisle. Health care is another entitlement program.....and people will complain about this one too when it's all said and done. It's never enough. As Margaret Thatcher once said, "The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money".

    November 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Steven in Charleston

    It seems that a lot of people on this board seem to misunderstand the difference between a "Democracy" and a "Republic." In the case of a Republic (which is what we have) we elect (or appoint) officials who use their knowledge, expertise, and best judgement to make decisions they believe will benefit BOTH their district and the nation as a whole. Sen. Bennet has no obligation to blindly follow what his constituents think they want based upon some scare-tactic television ads paid for by corporations with a vested interest in the outcome, in fact to do so would be to completely abbrogate his duties.

    And I agree with Ed in Santa Fe - you would never see a Republican take such a couragous stand, although I suspect we will now see some GOPers get on the "I'll risk my job over this" bandwagon. Of course, it will only be Senators/Representatives from solidly red districts that have no chance of being kicked out - after all, the GOP only makes promises it never has to worry about keeping.

    November 22, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. haren

    public is misguided by fox news and insurance co.
    I am sure Senator has read the bill and he will be the better judge to vote accordingly.
    Thanks senator for taking right step.

    November 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Barbara

    Now this is a true example of one man realizing his duty to the People. He's not yelling and screaming and blaming the other side. He realizes the seriousness and importance of this historic moment and puts the needs of the People first instead of voting in a way that makes him politically comfortable for the next election. He is an example of what is Good-and rare-in poltics these days. HealthCare Must be passed Now. It is a crime that so very many Americans are without Health Insurance. I commend you Sen. Bennet. Your constituents are lucky to have you as their voice in Congress.

    November 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. steve

    John King , the tool of the GOP, why don`t you ask the same question to the republicans who are voting against the Health care reform?
    For Democrats , take note of this republican tactics as you move forward with the health care debate.

    The Strategy Going Forward

    Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)

    Sunday, November 22nd at 9:36AM EST

    Sixty Senators voted to proceed to debate health care. There will be another shot at stopping it through filibuster.

    Mary Landrieu, after getting $300 million in the bill for Louisiana, voted for it.

    Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas not only voted for it, but now favors a public option.

    Voters will remember.

    Along the way, there seems to be divisions shaping up within the Democratic Party. Amendments will be offered to try to patch up differences.

    Republicans should exploit this. Drag out consideration of the bill as those divisions grow, then offer amendments to exploit the divisions.

    As I have said before, if Republicans work to improve the legislation, they presuppose its passage. Instead, the GOP should plan for the destruction of the bill by offering amendments designed to divide and fracture the Democrat coalition.
    Category: Health care

    November 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    Senator Bennett, thank you for standing up for what you believe in, and for standing for your constituents' health and long-life. As of right now, you have my vote (and likely my husband's vote) in next year's elections.

    November 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. Vietnam Combat Veteran, Ohio

    Good job! Hey McConnell, how many of your Kentucky hillbillies have health insurance? Very few, i'm sure. I hope they run your butt right out of KY. You sir are a loser.

    November 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. JW

    "When a freshman Democrat places the ethical and moral prevailing issue of the ages before themselves, it gives all Americans Hope!"

    So you're saying that when a representative of the people premeditatively goes against the wishes of those he represents, Americans become more hopeful? When a representative of the people does the opposite of what the people he represents want, he is dictating to them, not representing them. If the collective hope of America is to derive from dictatorial behavior, then we are all screwed. But, I guess a large number of Americans are fine with such behavior because it saves them the hassle of having to think for themselves.

    November 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. josephine

    Mr. Bennet wont be losing his job cause the silent majority actually supports health reform. The minority think that they are the majority only because they are louder, rowdier and dont know what they are talking about.

    November 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  24. Sherri

    Integrity and courage, how refreshing. Bless you!

    November 22, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  25. Rich (Charleston, SC)

    As I read through these comments, I see a major shift away from this whole Obama – Pelsoi – Reid liberal politics and back to the moderate-conservative that a majority of Amercins are. This bill is the most INSANE piece of legislation to be proposed ever, and will ruin this country economicaly for at least a generation. Thank you to all those who blindly push for this in taxing my children and grandchildren in the name of socialism.

    But the point I am finally glad to see is the PEOPLE standing up for the "will of the people". These idiots in Congress were eletced to "serve the wishes of the people", not to instill their own politcial beliefs or blindly follow their party, against the wishes of the people they represent. Power, greed, arragance, self-serviing politians.

    November 22, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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