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January 05, 2009

Bennet comes to Washington

While Roland Burris and Al Franken's pending arrivals on Capitol Hill have gotten the lion's share of attention, another future senator made a much more quiet appearance today:  Colorado's Michael Bennet.

Bennet, who will be succeeding Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), arrived in Washington to little fanfare, the Rocky Mountain News reports:

It has been just a few days since Gov. Bill Ritter surprised many observers by picking Bennet as the future Senate replacement for Interior Secretary nominee Ken Salazar.

So Bennet arrived at Salazar's seventh-floor office suite with a one-person entourage — unnoticed by tourists and other congressional staff members wandering the hallways. He set up temporary office space in one of Salazar's spare rooms. And he set out on an agenda that involves more listening than anything else.

"You can't acquire the knowledge we're talking (about) inauthentically. You have to do the work," Bennet said in a brief interview. "You've got to be willing to ask the questions and also know what you don't know."

Bennet isn't ready to spell out all his policy positions. He has been more busy getting to know key members of Salazar's staff and the long lists of issues, many of which fall outside his career experience in law, business and now education.

On Sunday, the day after Ritter's official announcement, Bennet met with members of Salazar's Colorado-based staff.

"And I've been able this morning to spend time with the staff here, so they could get to know me a bit and I could plead with them not to disappear on me," Bennet said.