In lively Steamboat town hall meeting, Sen. Michael Bennet weighs in on health care, Trump’s tweeting |

In lively Steamboat town hall meeting, Sen. Michael Bennet weighs in on health care, Trump’s tweeting

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — At a lively town hall in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet found a friendly audience to talk policy with and even shook hands and agreed with one of the area’s most vocal Republicans on a topic of national interest.

The Colorado Democrat and Republican Chuck McConnell were shaking hands at Bud Werner Memorial Library after the Senator said President Donald Trump should stop watching cable, put his phone down and stop tweeting about foreign affairs.

“It is not helping the United States,” Bennet said. “It is not serving the national interest, and all he has to do is put his phone down. That’s all he has to do … and he should be working, anyway.”

Holding a Trump-Pence sign in the middle of the audience, McConnell stood up and said “I agree.”

Amidst strong applause from the crowd, Bennet ran over to McConnell for the handshake.

Bennet also weighed in on the hot topic of health care.

“I think the prospect is quite good that we are going to make some bipartisan progress … in the health education labor committee,” Bennet said. “I have argued for months and months and months on the floor of the Senate it was the appropriate place for the bill to be.”

He said the Senate should have hearings and give Americans opportunities to testify on proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act.

In some of his most passionate remarks at the town hall, Bennet defended the process Democrats used to pass the Affordable Care Act and noted more than 200 amendments had been accepted from Republican lawmakers.

“It was a model of legislating,” he said.

Bennet fielded questions from the large crowd for nearly 90 minutes.

Retired high school science teacher Dean Massey said millennials had grown disillusioned with the Democratic Party and the party needed to get rid of old ideas and find younger people to replace such figures as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“There’s got to be younger, better ideas and younger, better people to get them through,” Massey said.

Bennet responded by saying he thought the party did have a lot of rebuilding to do.

“There’s a lot of obsolescence to ideas of both parties,” he said. “We have to nominate someone who has convincing ideas for the American people, otherwise, we’re not going to win.”

Bennet was also asked about Trump’s view that transgender service members are a burden on the military and should not be able to serve.

“It was totally wrong to say what he said,” Bennet said. “It was absolutely discouraging beyond belief the President of the United States would make a decision like that without consulting with the joint chiefs of staff, who have rejected his view.”

Earlier in the day, Bennet addressed the Colorado Water Congress in Steamboat.

He also toured the Eisenhower Tunnel with Colorado Department of Transportation officials.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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