If there’s a candidate for elected office more honest, ethical, and authentic than Joe O’Dea, we’d be surprised.

Indeed, national journalists have called O’Dea one of the best candidates anywhere in the country. O’Dea’s an American success story, who is a rare blend of candor, decency and strength. 

The campaign by Senator Michael Bennet’s closest allies to smear the good name of Joe O’Dea — an honest man trying to do good for a country that badly needs balanced leadership — is misleading and wrong. The same people tried the same smear tactics in the Republican primary, hoping Bennet wouldn’t have to face a candidate as strong as O’Dea. Even traditional mainstream media at the New York Times, the Washington Post and NBC News have loudly condemned the smear campaign against O’Dea.  

O’Dea’s construction company, Concrete Express, Inc., has one of the best safety records and finest professional reputations in the construction industry. At Concrete Express, first-generation Americans have worked their way up from entry-level laborers to becoming co-owners alongside Joe. At Concrete Express, you’re paid based on merit — character and performance determine compensation. Benefits at O’Dea’s company are generous — the company helps pay college tuition for the children of employees through a scholarship program. Chronically ill workers are given months of paid leave and benefits. Joe’s company gets hired by Republican counties and Democratic cities to build roads and reservoirs, to reroute rivers around old dams, and to build environmentally friendly bridges, trails and footpaths that expand access to Colorado’s wondrous outdoors. Like Joe O’Dea, the Concrete Express name is respected across the state and industry for its honesty and expertise. 

O’Dea and his construction firm make significant investments in our community as well. O’Dea and Concrete Express have donated millions of dollars in labor, construction supplies, and engineering know-how to Father Woody’s Haven of Hope, a homeless shelter in Denver now named Haven of Hope. When O’Dea says we need to clean up homelessness, crime and addiction on the streets of Denver, even as we provide humane alternatives for those down on their luck, you can know Joe O’Dea walks the walk.

Like his business, O’Dea’s campaign has been ethical and honest. O’Dea spent months in the Republican Primary telling pro-life audiences and conservative talk show hosts he disagreed with them on abortion, that he would vote to codify Roe vs. Wade, but that he hoped the GOP would back him because he would attack inflation, cut the debt and support the police and military. O’Dea told Donald Trump supporters that the former president was wrong to deny the 2020 election’s outcome. Many times, they booed. He smiled and said he hoped to earn their vote because the country needs to come together. Joe O’Dea has said he hopes Trump doesn’t run (he doesn’t think Biden should either) and he will campaign for another contender — like Sen. Tim Scott — if he does. There will be a lot of good candidates who can serve for eight years who can move our country forward.

As a candidate, O’Dea has demonstrated that he is a truth-teller. He tells immigrant communities he supports citizenship for “Dreamers” —  people protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — but that we need to bolster border security to keep-out fentanyl, crime, and cartels. O’Dea’s wife, Celeste, is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and O’Dea believes his campaign will win with Hispanics and working-class voters of all kinds because of his personal story. 

Adopted at birth and raised by a cop in working class Denver neighborhoods, Joe has built a great American success story. Michael Bennet could learn a thing or two from O’Dea and the coalition of working Americans he is building.

Hank Brown represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate from 1991-97, and was president of the University of Colorado system from 2005-2008. Cole Wist, an Independent, is an employment and labor attorney and was assistant minority leader in the Colorado House of Representatives, where he served from 2016-18.

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Hank Brown represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate from 1991-97.

Cole Wist was assistant minority leader in the Colorado House of Representatives, where he served from 2016-18.