There are political experts in Boulder County who don’t see much difference between Andrew Romanoff and Michael Bennet in the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. There are those in the Democratic Party who also make this claim. Yet the differences between the two candidates are significant. Beyond stylistic, the differences in positions are substantive and very real.
Let’s begin with measures that could make government more accountable to its citizens.
Romanoff refuses to accept campaign contributions from corporations, political action committees or any special-interest groups. Bennet’s campaign has taken more than a million dollars from special interest groups, including bailed-out banks, discredited insurance companies, BP and other oil industry giants and high-powered Washington, D.C., lobbying firms. There is nothing stylistic about that difference. It’s as plain as it can be.
Romanoff proposes to prohibit lawmakers from taking cash from anyone lobbying a committee on which they are a member. Bennet serves on the Senate Banking Committee, and his campaign is now one of the top 10 recipients of Wall Street cash. Nothing stylistic there either.
The difference is as plain as the nose on your face.
Romanoff supports the Fair Elections Now Act. Bennet, to the best of my knowledge, continues to decline to state his position. Again, a plain and obvious difference between the two candidates.
There’s no question that in the current economic crisis — and it is still a crisis — Coloradans and all Americans are vitally concerned about how to protect their jobs, their homes and their savings.
Once again, Romanoff stands with the people, and Bennet stands with the big financial institutions. Romanoff supports allowing courts to shield families from foreclosure. On April 30, 2009, Bennett voted with the banks, against homowners.
Romanoff backs a plan to prevent banks from becoming “too big to fail.” Again, Bennet voted against taxpayers and with the banks on May 10. Romanoff also supports a plan to divide investment and commercial banking. So far, Bennet doesn’t have a position on this particular matter.
Romanoff’s record in Colorado shows that he voted to fund Meals on Wheels and other services for older Coloradans <HB 06-1018). And on March 3, in Congress, Bennet voted to deny seniors $250, even though he knew it was a year in which there would be no Social Security increase.
Romanoff voted to defend the right of workers to organize (HB07-1072). Bennet continues to refuse to state his position on the Employee Free Choice Act.
Repeatedly, Romanoff has made good on his efforts to hold down the cost of health care. He cracked down on insurance companies that delay or deny valid claims <HB 08-1407) .
Bennet, on the other hand, has taken thousands of dollars from the insurance industry and did not keep his promise to push for a public option in the health care legislation. He does not favor a single- payer plan, and Romanoff has been consistent in his support for a single-payer system.
As a four-time elected state legislator and as Speaker of the House, Romanoff helped make Colorado a world leader in renewable energy. Bennet talks about it, but it’s mostly that – just talk. His campaign has taken thousands of dollars from this nation’s biggest polluters, including BP.
Romanoff supports President Obama’s efforts to end tax breaks for Big Oil and to use the savings to curb the deficit and to boost energy efficiency
Again, Bennet talks about it, but on June 15, he joined a majority of senators to vote with Big Oil and against taxpayers and the environment. His message to voters seems to be: Pay attention to what I say, not what I do.
The differences between Romanoff and Bennet are many and significant.
Now it may be that Bennet has some of the same political leanings as Romanoff does, but the splendid difference is that Romanoff does what he says he will do.
He’s precisely the kind of senator Colorado needs to send to Washington, D.C., this year.
Bob Miller has resided in Longmont for six years.