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U.S. Senator Michael F. Bennet (Colorado)

Michael F. Bennet was elected United States Senator for Colorado in November 2010. A newcomer to politics with experience in business and public service, he is widely-recognized as a pragmatic, innovative and independent thinker driven by a deep-seated obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation.

Since arriving in Washington, Michael hasn't wasted a moment. In his unrelenting fight to create good-paying jobs for Coloradans and restore fiscal responsibility to Washington, Michael has emerged as an effective leader with a proven record of bringing people together to deliver results for working families.

A former businessman, Michael has led the fight in Washington to create jobs, support middle-class families and grow our economy. A champion for small business, Michael led the fight in the Senate to pass a bill that boosted small business investments and provided more than $12 billion in targeted tax relief for Colorado job creators.

As the father of three young girls, Michael has made reducing the deficits and debt that threaten our economic future a top priority. He has successfully fought to end the big bank bailouts, introduced a bill to rein in spending and ensure Congress lives within its means, and led a bipartisan group of 64 senators calling for a comprehensive plan for deficit reduction.

As a former school superintendent and a member of the Senate Education Committee, Michael is pushing for bold reforms that support great teaching, cut needless red tape and bureaucracy, and incentivize innovative efforts at the state and local level that drive student achievement and help prepare our kids to compete in the new economy.

As Colorado's U.S. Senator, Michael has pushed for investments in clean energy that create jobs and help break our reliance on overseas oil; fought to uphold our commitment to Colorado's veterans and military families; and fought to preserve Colorado's rich agricultural tradition underpinned by our family farmers and ranchers.

Michael is a member of the Senate committees on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and the Special Committee on Aging.

Before his appointment to the Senate in 2009 and subsequent election to a full six year term in 2010, Michael served as Superintendent of Denver Public Schools where he led a bold and inclusive reform effort that improved student achievement, helped turn around failing schools, and brought a halt to a seemingly endless cycle of annual budget cuts.

Prior to his time at the Denver Public Schools, Michael was widely credited with balancing a historic budget deficit and implementing innovative reforms as Chief of Staff to then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. In that role, he also implemented innovative reforms that made city government more responsive to the needs and concerns of the greater Denver community.

Michael's experience saving jobs and turning around failing companies has also served him well in the U.S. Senate. As Managing Director at the Anschutz Investment Company, Michael managed the successful restructuring of more than $3 billion in corporate debt.

Michael earned his bachelor's degree with honors from Wesleyan University and his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of The Yale Law Journal.

Michael married Susan Daggett, a successful natural resources lawyer, in 1997. Michael and Susan are the proud parents of three daughters: Caroline, Halina and Anne.


Joe Nocera is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. Before joining the Opinion Pages in April 2011, he wrote the Talking Business column for the Times each Saturday and was a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. In addition to his work at the Times, he serves as a regular business commentator for NPR's "Weekend Edition" with Scott Simon.

Before joining the Times in 2005, Nocera spent ten years at Fortune Magazine, where he held a variety of positions, including contributing writer, editor-at-large, and executive editor. His last position at Fortune was editorial director. He was the Profit Motive columnist at GQ until May 1995, and he wrote the same column for Esquire from 1988 until 1990. In the 1980s, he served as a contributing editor at Newsweek, as executive editor of New England Monthly, and as senior editor at Texas Monthly. From 1978 until 1980, he was an editor at The Washington Monthly.

Nocera's column ranges widely over the world of business, covering everything from Home Depot's annual meeting to Boeing's comeback to his offbeat musings about his broken iPod. Slate Magazine says that his column "demystifies the world of business with original thinking, brainy reporting, and the ability to see around corners."

Nocera has won three Gerald Loeb awards, including the 2008 award for commentary, and three John Hancock awards for excellence in business journalism. His book, A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class, won the New York Public Library's 1995 Helen Bernstein Award as the best non-fiction book of the year. He anchored the 1997 Frontline documentary Betting on the Market, which aired on PBS, and in 2003, edited The Smartest Guys in the Room, the best-selling book about Enron written by two Fortune senior writers. He is the author of Good Guys and Bad Guys: Behind the Scenes with the Saints and Scoundrels of American Business (and Everything In Between), and his most recent book is All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, co-authored with Bethany McLean. He was a 2007 Pulitzer finalist.

Nocera earned a BS in journalism from Boston University in 1974.


  • All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
  • Talking Business
  • How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class
  • Behind the Scenes with the Saints & Scoundrels of American Business

Mayor Michael B. Hancock

From school-age kid to hard-working adult, Michael Hancock has always been a leader. Despite adversity and tragedy, he has always found a way to triumph. And with a passion for public service, Michael has always fought on behalf of the people and businesses of Denver. Michael grew up here. He and his wife are raising their family here. He served two terms as Denver City Council president and was the youngest CEO of an Urban League chapter anywhere in the country. He knows what it means to meet a payroll, manage a budget and inspire a workforce. He believes in bringing different groups together to find common-sense solutions to complicated challenges, and he believes that by working together we can build on our past and create a world-class city of tomorrow, because We are all Denver.

Michael and his twin sister are the youngest of 10 kids from an Army family that moved frequently. Michael was born near Fort Hood in Texas, and he and his family came to Denver when he was just 10 months old.

It was a tough childhood. Michael's father drank and his parents divorced when he was 6. His dad returned to Texas and Michael's mom moved the family into public housing. Michael remembers cold and hungry nights with no heat and no food. Tragically, one of Michael's brothers died from AIDS in 1996 and Michael promised him he would always fight for justice and fairness and give voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. Six years later, one of Michael's sisters was killed by an estranged boyfriend, fueling Michael's advocacy for victims and his drive to end family violence in our community.

Today, at age 41, Michael is the proud father of three children – Alayna, Jordan and Janae – and he and his wife, Mary, have been married for 17 years after first meeting in middle school.

A natural leader from a very young age, Michael attended six elementary schools before settling in at Cole Middle School, where his classmates elected him student body president.

At Manual High School (Class of 1987), Michael served as class president his first three years, statewide student council president as a junior, and Manual Head Boy as a senior. Michael also played wide receiver and safety for the Manual Thunderbolts. A fun but little-known fact about Michael's football career: He went to the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in 1987, though not as a player. Michael was the Broncos' team mascot that season.

After high school, Michael attended Hastings College in Nebraska (Class of 1991), coming home every summer and working in Mayor Federico Peña's office. Michael earned his bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in communications. He later was selected for the college's highest alumni honor, the Bronco Award. After college, Michael returned home and earned a master's degree in public administration from CU-Denver in 1995.

Michael started his career in the early 1990s, holding down two jobs at the Denver Housing Authority and the National Civic League – while also pursuing a master's degree.

At the Housing Authority, Michael designed, implemented and oversaw the first-ever athletic, cultural and leadership-training programs for 11,000 inner-city kids living in public housing. He also helped write a state law outlawing drug possession within 100 feet of public housing.

With the National Civic League, Michael helped communities, nonprofits and other clients all over the country craft and enact strategic plans to solve economic and budget challenges, increase civic participation and improve governance.

Michael joined Metro Denver's Urban League affiliate in 1995 as program director at a time when the economic-empowerment and civil-rights organization was struggling – struggling so much that Michael's very first paycheck bounced! Undaunted, Michael rose through the ranks, developing a strategic plan, overseeing day-to-day operations and leading fundraising efforts. He became executive vice president, interim president and then president in 1999.

At 29 years old, Michael was the youngest leader of an Urban League chapter anywhere in America. He turned around an organization that lacked focus, relevance or a strategy. He developed a talented staff, created a nationally recognized and award-winning job-training program, and built private-sector partnerships with companies like Qwest, Comcast and AT&T.

City Council
After almost five years as president of the Urban League, Michael stepped down in 2003 when voters in northeast Denver's District 11 elected him to the City Council. His council peers unanimously chose him to serve two terms as council President from 2006-08. He presided over the creation of the Denver Pre-School Initiative, strategies to fight foreclosures, and the implementation of the largest infrastructure improvement effort in city history.

As a councilman, Michael is widely recognized as one of the most accessible, constituent-oriented elected officials anywhere. He is a leader on neighborhood issues, city finances, economic development and children's issues. "Great neighborhoods start with great schools," Michael says.

As a City Councilman, Michael has:

  • Led efforts to support businesses and expand economic opportunities downtown, at Denver International Airport and Stapleton.
  • Fought to end the foreclosure crisis and mortgage fraud.
  • Guided the Better Denver neighborhood improvement program – nearly 300 projects and thousands of jobs in every part of Denver!
  • Helped initiate innovative-schools legislation.
  • Strengthened neighborhoods by ensuring fair and equitable delivery of services and facilities such as libraries, rec centers, road repairs, police protection, street sweeping, trash collection and neighborhood inspections.

On July 18, 2011, Michael B. Hancock was sworn in as the 45th Mayor of Denver.

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