For senator, a sampler platter of jobs
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., pumped up bicycle tires, grabbed empty longneck beer bottles three at a time and took questions during a tour of western Colorado businesses on Thursday.
Bennet visited Brown Cycles in downtown Grand Junction and Kannah Creek’s Edgewater Brewery as part of his “Coloradans Don’t Shut Down” tour that also took him to Olathe that afternoon to work at Tuxedo Farms’ onion operation.
The idea was to demonstrate in part that Bennet was displeased with the federal shutdown at the beginning of the month, a point he drove home when he learned that the bottles he worked on the filling line at Edgewater, 905 Struthers Ave., were being shipped without labels.
Approval of the label by a federal agency was delayed by the shutdown. That meant the bottles could be used only as samples, co-owner Jim Jeffries said.
“Regular people don’t shut their businesses down in the name of saving them,” Bennet said at one point as he worked on a bicycle tire, drawing a pointed comparison to the shutdown.
The medical-device tax in the Affordable Care Act, which contains the individual mandate, raised $1 billion in what amounted to “found money,” that hadn’t been budgeted, Kirk Conn, a Grand Junction man, told Bennet, noting that the money could have been used to keep open national parks and monuments.
He voted against the medical-device tax, Bennet said, noting the shutdown cost $24 billion and ultimately “didn’t make any sense at all.”
Another critic of the Affordable Care Act, Alan Wixom, told Bennet the new law was aimed less at health care and more at controlling Americans though their health care choices.
“I’m not interested in controlling anyone,” Bennet responded.
He was glad to speak with Bennet about his criticisms, Wixom said later, but “I’m still disappointed.”
There’s plenty of blame to go around, Wixom said, noting that in Congress, “There’s one side I’m more disappointed in than the other.”
As any good employee might do, Bennet took the time in front of reporters to pump up his (nonpaid) employer.
“Here I am at Brown Cycles in Grand Junction,” Bennet said. “People should come in here and buy a bike.”