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Senate pick Bennet praised for work at Anschutz Co. Denver Business Journal January 3, 2009 Michael Bennet, reportedly Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter's choice to fill Ken Salazar's U.S. Senate seat, was praised for his six years of work for billionaire Philip Anschutz by an executive of the Denver entrepreneur's company. "Not only is Michael Bennet one of the brightest and most insightful individuals I have known, he also is one of the most effective," Cannon "Cy" Harvey, president of the Anschutz Co., said late Friday in an e-mail to the Denver Business Journal. "That is a rare combination," Harvey added. "Results matter to Michael. He is thoughtful and weighs the pros and cons before he acts." Bennet, now superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, worked for Anschutz for six years, helping him with his various business interests, before leaving in 2003 to become chief of staff for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. In particular, Bennet -- a lawyer by training -- was closely involved with Anschutz's acquisition of several movie-theater chains that were later combined as Regal Entertainment Group. According to numerous news reports, Ritter on Saturday was expected to name Bennet as his choice to fill out the remaining two years of the Senate term of Salazar, who is being nominated by President-elect Barack Obama as secretary of the Interior. An election for the Senate seat is to be held in 2010. The news came as a surprise to many political observers, who had not considered Bennet to be on the short list of potential candidates for the appointment. Bennet has never served in elective office, although he did work briefly in the U.S. Department of Justice and for then-Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste as well as for Hickenlooper. Bennet, who has been DPS superintendent since 2005, was at one point mentioned as a possible candidate for appointment as education secretary in the Obama administration but was passed over in favor of Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan. If appointed, Bennet will serve in the Senate as a Democrat, and he was an adviser to Obama during the presidential campaign. Anschutz is a staunch supporter of Republican causes and made numerous donations to GOP candidates and campaign organizations recently. Harvey said he was commenting on Bennet’s performance during his employment at the Anschutz Co. and afterward, and not on the possibility of his Senate appointment. "His accomplishments as an attorney and businessman were in no small part due to his balance and common sense," Harvey said." "He is a good listener and has a great talent for bringing people together around common goals in order to reach a successful outcome for all of the interested parties; but he knows his own values and never strays from them."
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