John Hickenlooper: Western Values And Democratic Values

“It is time to end this American crisis of division” John Hickenlooper declares in his campaign announcement for the presidency. This is the central theme of Hickenlooper’s campaign. He makes no bones that he blames Trump for the division the country currently suffers through. Colorado’s former governor then talks about his accomplishments during his two terms as the state’s chief executive.

Hickenlooper has literally climbed the political ladder. When going through a period of unemployment, Hickenlooper and five partners started a business – the Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver Colorado. After a bit of a rough start the brewpub became very successful. This led to leadership roles in business and politics in Denver.

Hickenlooper parlayed his business success into a run for mayor of Denver which he won. Upon becoming mayor of Colorado’s largest city, Hickenlooper inherited some serious issues, including a huge $70 million deficit. As mayor he not only closed the deficit, but also took Denver to new heights.

From Hickenlooper’s campaign website:  

While Mayor, he reduced crime and instituted police reforms, including a Citizen Oversight Commission and an Office of Independent Monitor.

He also expanded pre-K to every 4-year-old and he created the Denver Scholarship Program, which partnered with Denver Public Schools and private donations to help low income kids choose between 31 different technical community colleges and universities. The program has helped 6,376 scholars, and 78 percent of them have stayed enrolled in school or graduated.

His leadership helped transform the city into a destination and major economic hub. In 2005, with an approval rating of 92%, Time Magazine rated him one of the 5 best big city mayors in America.

He used his success as mayor to springboard to the governor’s mansion in Colorado. Under Hickenlooper’s guidance, Colorado’s economy and quality of life jumped tremendously:

In 2010, Hickenlooper became the first Denver Mayor elected Governor in 120 years. He was re-elected in 2014, after running an entirely positive campaign — a trademark of his time in public service.

In the past eight years, Colorado jumped from 40th in job creation to the number one economy in the nation. As Governor, Hickenlooper established and built an expansive set of workforce development programs that promoted skills-based hiring, career coaching, apprenticeships, and more.

Hickenlooper brought industry and environmentalists together to reduce methane emissions — a major contributor to climate change. The regulations they developed became the model for California and Canada and are considered the gold standard across the United States.

Hickenlooper also led Colorado’s recovery effort through major fires and floods, re-opening roads, bridges, and communities in record time. He stood up to the NRA to pass landmark gun safety legislation, including limits on high capacity magazines and universal background checks

He expanded Medicaid and opened a high quality state health insurance exchange program called Connect for Health Colorado, establishing an insurer in every county in the state. Today, nearly 95 percent of Coloradans have healthcare coverage.

One of the trademarks of the Hickenlooper leadership style is to work across the aisle to get things done. While he admits to being a dreamer, Hickenlooper has worked hard to make those dreams become reality. He works with those he needs to to make those dreams come true. As he makes his dreams into reality, he brings others with him. As you can see by his record, he does 

“We are a nation that tracks its progress by the number of working families that feel more secure about their future at the end of the day” Hickenlooper declares in his announcement. This contrasts his world view with that of the current president whose measures his progress by the pain he inflicts on those he sees as enemies.

Having three Democratic governors of western states in hunt for presidency in this round broadens the party’s outlook and perspective showing that those who believe in Democratic Party principals are at home in the city and in rural and outdoor states.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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