U.S. Senator Michael Bennet hosts town hall for Western Slope

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- Colorado cities and towns have been trying to get their representatives to host in person town halls, rather than telephone-town halls.

Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennet came to Mesa County Friday, drawing a crowd of nearly 200 to Colorado Mesa University.

Bennet encouraged Grand Junction to look into things like broadband and diversifying the economy, beyond just boom and bust industries.

Senators across the country, including our very own Senator Corey Gardner, are refusing to hold in person town halls.

“Here we have a senator not afraid to appear to appear in front of people to listen to us and look us in the eye,” said Carole Chowen, who attended the town hall. “Our other senator is hiding out, unresponsive hard to reach.”

The event brought folks out from both sides of the isle, discussing issues like President Donald Trump's budget proposal, social issues and climate change.

“Why not support a town hall? Whether I am a democrat or a republican,” said Thane De Puey, a Grand Junction Resident.

Residents asked and Bennet answered.

Senator Bennet said Colorado has stricter oil and gas regulations than other states, and he doesn't want our state to go backwards when it comes to renewable energies and creating jobs in those sectors.

It comes as no surprise, since Senator Bennett is critic of the trump administration. In fact, he called out the President's pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos.

Republican County Commissioner John Justman was in the crowd, but said he felt a little outnumbered.

“Michael Bennet is one of our senators and that's why I went down,” said John Justman. “Most of the party faithful were there, I didn't see a lot of fellow republicans...I saw a few.”

There was one common goal, to improve healthcare.

Bennet also brought up the president's budget proposal, saying it would be rough on Colorado's rural communities.

Names were just randomly drawn, so Senator Bennet did not know what questions people would ask.

Some residents hoped immigration would come up but within the hour that Bennet was here, no one asked about President Trump's travel ban.

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