- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Colorado’s U.S. senators were able to find common ground in the state’s wheat-covered Eastern Plains.

Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner joined forces Saturday for an agricultural tour, talking about crops and even visiting Gardner’s parents at the family’s 100-year-old farm implement dealership in Yuma, reported the Denver Post (http://dpo.st/1d9pXr3).

“We’re going to talk about hard red and hard white,” Gardner said, referring to strains of winter wheat, “rather than hard left and hard right.”

A wheat tour of the Eastern Plains has been a tradition in the 4th Congressional District since 1991, when it was started by then-new U.S. Rep. Wayne Allard. Gardner continued the tour when he was in Congress and invited Bennet when he decided to continue it as a senator.

The Senators visited Holyoke, Fleming and other small towns in northeastern Colorado, visited wheat fields surrounding the Akron Central Great Plains Research station and fielded questions about the Environmental Protection Agency at a Fort Morgan restaurant.

“My hat is off to you,” said Dennis Coryell, a Republican River District board director. “It’s refreshing you came together to address agricultural issues in our community.”

The senators agree that Colorado’s economy is booming because of agriculture.

“Rural Colorado has really dragged Colorado out of the recession,” Bennet said.

He was one of 13 Senate Democrats who voted for a controversial trade bill and says he did so because of what trade means to rural Colorado, where eighty percent of the wheat grown in the state is exported.

Bennet, who was appointed to the Senate in 2009, serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. He was elected in 2010 and is up for re-election in 2016.

Gardner was elected to the Senate in 2014, becoming the first Coloradan in 36 years to defeat an incumbent senator. Bennet presented Gardner’s parents, John and Cindy, a framed copy of their son’s first Senate speech.

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Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com

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