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John Hickenlooper

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Hickenlooper
John Hickenlooper June 2019.jpg
United States Senator-elect
from Colorado
Assuming office
January 3, 2021
SucceedingCory Gardner
42nd Governor of Colorado
In office
January 11, 2011 – January 8, 2019
LieutenantJoe García
Donna Lynne
Preceded byBill Ritter
Succeeded byJared Polis
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
July 13, 2014 – July 25, 2015
DeputyGary Herbert
Preceded byMary Fallin
Succeeded byGary Herbert
43rd Mayor of Denver
In office
July 21, 2003 – January 11, 2011
Preceded byWellington Webb
Succeeded byBill Vidal
Personal details
Born
John Wright Hickenlooper Jr.

(1952-02-07) February 7, 1952 (age 68)
Narberth, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
(m. 2002; div. 2015)

Robin Pringle
(m. 2016)
Children1
RelativesAndrew Hickenlooper (great-grandfather)
Bourke B. Hickenlooper (great-uncle)
George Hickenlooper (cousin)
EducationWesleyan University (BA, MS)
WebsiteCampaign website

John Wright Hickenlooper Jr.[1] (/ˈhɪkənlpər/; born February 7, 1952) is an American politician, businessman, and geologist who is the United States Senator-elect from Colorado, having defeated incumbent Cory Gardner in 2020. A member of the Democratic Party, Hickenlooper was mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011 and governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2019.

Born in Narberth, Pennsylvania, Hickenlooper is a graduate of Wesleyan University. After a career as a petroleum geologist, he co-founded the Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver in 1988. Hickenlooper was elected the 43rd mayor of Denver in 2003, serving two terms. After incumbent governor Bill Ritter said that he would not seek reelection, Hickenlooper announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination in January 2010. He won an uncontested primary and faced Constitution Party nominee Tom Tancredo and Republican Party nominee Dan Maes in the general election. Hickenlooper won with 51% of the vote and was reelected in 2014, defeating Republican Bob Beauprez.

As governor, he introduced universal background checks and banned high-capacity magazines in the wake of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado mass shooting. He expanded Medicaid under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, halving the rate of uninsured people in the state. Having initially opposed marijuana legalization, he has gradually come to support it.

He sought the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in 2019 but dropped out before primaries were held. He subsequently won the Democratic nomination to challenge Cory Gardner, the one-term Republican incumbent U.S. Senator from Colorado. He won the general election[2] and is expected to assume office on January 3, 2021.

Early life, education, and career

Hickenlooper was born in Narberth, Pennsylvania, a middle-class area of the suburban Main Line of Philadelphia.[3] He is the son of Anne Doughten (née Morris) Kennedy and John Wright Hickenlooper.[4][5][6][7] His great-grandfather Andrew Hickenlooper was a Union general, and his grandfather, Smith Hickenlooper, was a United States federal judge.[8][9] Hickenlooper was raised by his mother from a young age after his father's death. A 1970 graduate of The Haverford School, an independent boys school in Haverford, Pennsylvania, he went on to attend Wesleyan University, where he received a B.A. in English in 1974 and a master's degree in geology in 1980.[10][11]

Hickenlooper worked as a geologist in Colorado for Buckhorn Petroleum in the early 1980s. When Buckhorn was sold, Hickenlooper was laid off in 1986.[12] He and five business partners opened the Wynkoop Brewing Company brewpub in October 1988 after raising startup funds from dozens of friends and family along with a Denver economic development office loan. The Wynkoop was one of the first brewpubs in the United States. By 1996, Westword reported that Denver had more brewpubs per capita than any other city.[13]

Mayor of Denver

Hickenlooper was elected the 43rd mayor of Denver in 2003. TIME Magazine named him one of America's five best big-city mayors in 2005.[14]

As mayor, Hickenlooper won bipartisan support for a mulitbillion dollar mass public transit project, intended in part to attract investment and funded by a voter-approved sales tax increase.[15][16][17]

In 2003, Hickenlooper announced a ten-year plan to end homelessness in Denver, citing it as one of the issues that prompted him to run for mayor.[18][19][20] 280 U.S. cities announced similar plans. The effort did not end homelessness in Denver, and in 2015 Denver's city auditor "released a scathing audit faulting the plan's implementation."[21] The head of the agency responsible defended the program, saying it was "still housing 300-400 people a month in varying ways", while Hickenlooper argued that the point of such an ambitious target was to focus attention and resources on the problem.[21] In his governor's budget request for 2017–18, he asked lawmakers to allocate $12.3 million from taxes on marijuana to building homes for chronically homeless people.[19][18]

Hickenlooper established the Denver Scholarship Foundation, providing needs-based college scholarships to high school graduates.[22]

In May 2007, Hickenlooper was reelected with 88% of the vote.[23] He resigned as mayor just before his inauguration as governor.

Governor of Colorado

Hickenlooper in February 2012
Hickenlooper in February 2012

On January 11, 2011, Hickenlooper was sworn in as the 42nd governor of Colorado after winning by 15 points. He was the second Denver mayor ever elected governor. His victory was a landslide despite Democrats' poor results overall in the 2010 elections. Republicans flipped twelve governorships nationwide in 2010.[4] NPR described Hickenlooper as having a "pro-business centrist profile" and as "known to try to build consensus and compromise on tough issues".[24]

On December 4, 2012, Hickenlooper was elected to serve as vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association.[25]

On August 25, 2017, it was reported that Republican Governor of Ohio John Kasich was considering the possibility of a 2020 unity ticket to run against Donald Trump, with Hickenlooper as vice president.[26]

Constitutionally limited to two consecutive terms,[27] Hickenlooper could not run for governor in 2018.

On June 5, 2020, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission fined Hickenlooper $2,750 for twice violating Colorado's gift ban as governor.[28][29] Hickenlooper received a flight on a private jet owned by homebuilder and donor Larry Mizel, the founder of MDC Holdings.[30] He also received private security and a ride to the airport in a Maserati limousine on a trip to the Bilderberg Meetings in Italy.[31] The state spent an estimated $127,000 in attorney's fees investigating the violation.[29]

United States Senate

Elections

2020 General election

In a YouTube video published to his campaign channel on August 22, 2019, Hickenlooper announced that he would run for the United States Senate in 2020.[32] Some preliminary polling data showed him with a substantial lead against incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner.[33] Hickenlooper was also leading the Democratic primary field by a fairly wide margin before he announced.[34] He was quickly endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a move protested by candidates already running before Hickenlooper's entry.[35]

On June 30, Hickenlooper defeated former state house Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic primary,[36] winning the nomination to challenge one-term incumbent Republican Cory Gardner.[37] Hickenlooper defeated Gardner.[38]

Hickenlooper will be sworn in on January 3, 2021, by Vice President Mike Pence.

Tenure

Committees

Caucuses

Political positions

Hickenlooper during the World Economic Forum 2013
Hickenlooper during the World Economic Forum 2013

Cannabis legalization

In 2006, Denver voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis, becoming one of the first major U.S. cities to do so. Hickenlooper opposed the initiative, and said it would not override state law, which punished possession with a $100 fine.[39] In 2012, he opposed Amendment 64, which made Colorado the first state along with Washington to allow the sale and recreational use of cannabis, but worked with the state legislature to enact the decision.[18] A year after the measures came into effect, he said, "You don't want to be the first person to do something like this", telling other governors to "wait a couple of years" until a clear regulatory framework had been established.[40] As Colorado's new laws have been implemented and the results become more clear, Hickenlooper has indicated that his views have evolved, saying in May 2016 that Colorado's approach to cannabis legalization is "beginning to look like it might work".[41] In 2019, he said he would be happy to decriminalize cannabis at a federal level if he became president.[42]

Gun control

Exactly eight months after the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Hickenlooper signed bills into law requiring universal background checks on all gun transfers in Colorado except gifts between immediate family members and banning magazines with more than 15 rounds.[43][44] Although most Coloradans supported the measures, according to polling by the Denver Post,[43] the bills' opponents gathered enough signatures to trigger special elections leading to the ousting of Democratic state senators John Morse and Angela Giron and the resignation of Evie Hudak.[45]

Hickenlooper was a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns until 2011.[46] In 2018, he supported a Red Flag or Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill in the legislature that would have allowed judges to temporally restrict firearm access to those deemed a significant risk to themselves or others.[47] The GOP-controlled State Senate never let the bill out of committee that legislative session.[48]

Hickenlooper in 2015
Hickenlooper in 2015

Capital punishment

In 2013, a campaign sought clemency for Nathan Dunlap, a black man facing execution for the 1993 murder of four people, with three former jurors saying they would not have voted for the death penalty had they known of his undiagnosed mental illness, while the mother of a victim, a former co-worker of Dunlap, and the Arapahoe County District Attorney urged Hickenlooper to let the execution take place.[49][50] Hickenlooper granted Dunlap a reprieve, reversible by a future governor, citing inequity in the legal system and the evidence against capital punishment's effectiveness as a deterrent, saying, "It is a legitimate question whether we as a state should be taking lives".[49][51]

In Hickenlooper's 2016 memoir, he came out against the death penalty, saying his views had changed after he became more familiar with the research showing bias against minorities and people with mental illnesses.[52]

Health care

Hickenlooper expanded Medicaid and established Colorado's health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado, through the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The state's uninsured rate dropped from 14.3% in 2013 to 6.5% in 2017. Approximately 350,000 Coloradans, about a quarter of whom are undocumented immigrants and thus ineligible for public insurance, remained without insurance coverage. The price of health insurance coverage continued to rise in Colorado, which has some of the highest premiums in the nation.[53]

Disaster recovery

In May 2014, Hickenlooper signed five bills related to disaster relief in the wake of flooding and wildfires. The bills funded grants to remove flood debris from watersheds and to repair flood-damaged schools and damaged wastewater and drinking water systems. They also exempted people who lost homes from having to pay property taxes and out-of-state disaster workers from having to pay Colorado state income tax.[54]

Energy and environment

Hickenlooper's administration created the first methane-capture regulations for oil and gas companies in the entire country. The rules prevented 95% of volatile organic compounds and methane from leaking from hydraulic fracturing wells.[55] The rules were later used as blueprints for California, Canada, and the federal government's own new rules.[56]

After President Trump announced that the United States would leave the Paris Climate Accord, Hickenlooper joined more than a dozen other states in retaining the accord's greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.[57]

NPR has called Hickenlooper a "strong supporter of Colorado's oil and gas industry".[24] Unlike most Democrats, he supports hydraulic fracking, a controversial oil and natural gas extraction process.[58] Before politics, Hickenlooper was a geologist. He believes fracking is a beneficial practice with minimal environmental harm, even testifying in a 2013 hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that he had drunk a glass of fracking fluid produced by Halliburton.[18][59]

Economic policy

In March 2014, Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1241, which funded the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI).[60]

In 2016, Hickenlooper launched a program called Skillful, with the help of LinkedIn and the Markle Foundation. The program uses online tools and on-the-ground advisors to help businesses create job descriptions to tap into a wider job pool and help job seekers fill high-need jobs and connect them with job training.[61] Twenty other states are now following. In 2017, Skillful added the Governors Coaching Corps. program, a career coaching initiative operated out of workforce center, community colleges, and nonprofits, with the help of a $25.8 million grant from Microsoft.[62]

Hickenlooper calls himself "a fiscal conservative." He has said, "I don't think the government needs to be bigger. I think the government's got to work, and people have got to believe in government, and I think that's part of the problem," and "I think what a lot of Americans want is better government, not bigger government."[16]

Political campaigns

2006 Colorado gubernatorial race

Hickenlooper was viewed as a possible contender for governor of Colorado in the November 2006 election to replace term-limited Republican governor Bill Owens. Despite a "Draft Hick" campaign, he officially announced on February 6, 2006, that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for governor. Later, he threw his support behind Democratic candidate Bill Ritter, Denver's former district attorney, who was subsequently elected.[63]

2008 Democratic National Convention

Hickenlooper speaks on the first day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Hickenlooper speaks on the first day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Hickenlooper was an executive member of the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee and helped lead the successful campaign for Denver to host the landmark 2008 Democratic National Convention, which was also the centennial anniversary of the city's hosting of the 1908 Democratic National Convention.

In a controversial move decried by critics as breaching partisan ethics, the Hickenlooper administration arranged for the DNC host committee, a private nonprofit organization, to get untaxed fuel from Denver city-owned pumps, saving them $0.404 per US gallon ($0.107/l).[64] Once the arrangement came to light, the host committee agreed to pay taxes on the fuel already consumed and on all future fuel purchases.[65] Also, Coors brewing company, based in Golden, Colorado, used "waste beer" to provide the ethanol to power a fleet of FlexFuel vehicles used during the convention.[66]

2008 Senate seat appointment

According to The Denver Post, Hickenlooper was considered the frontrunner to fill the United States Senate seat to be vacated by Ken Salazar upon his confirmation as Secretary of the Interior in the Obama Administration.[67] He confirmed his interest in the seat.[68] But on January 3, 2009, Governor Bill Ritter appointed Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet to the position.[69] Bennet previously served as Mayor Hickenlooper's chief of staff.

2010 Colorado gubernatorial race

After Ritter announced on January 6, 2010, that he would step down at the end of his term, Hickenlooper was cited as a potential candidate for governor.[70] Hickenlooper said that if Salazar mounted a bid for governor, he would likely not challenge him in a Democratic primary.[71] On January 7, 2010, Salazar confirmed that he would not run for governor in 2010 and endorsed Hickenlooper.[72] On January 12, 2010, media outlets reported that Hickenlooper would begin a campaign for governor.[73] On August 5, 2010, Hickenlooper selected CSU-Pueblo president Joseph A. Garcia as his running mate.[74] Hickenlooper was elected with 51% of the vote, ahead of former congressman Tom Tancredo, running on the American Constitution Party ticket, who finished with 36.4% of the vote.[75]

2014 Colorado gubernatorial race

Hickenlooper won a tightly contested gubernatorial election with a plurality of 49.0% of the vote against Republican businessman Bob Beauprez.[76]

2020 presidential campaign

Hickenlooper 2020
John Hickenlooper 2020 presidential campaign logo.png
Campaign2020 United States presidential election (Democratic Party primaries)
CandidateJohn Hickenlooper
Governor of Colorado (2011–2019)
Mayor of Denver (2003–2011)
AffiliationDemocratic Party
StatusSuspended
AnnouncedMarch 4, 2019
LaunchedMarch 7, 2019
SuspendedAugust 15, 2019
HeadquartersDenver, Colorado
Key peopleBrad Komar (campaign manager)[77]
ReceiptsUS$3,508,447.82[78] (9/30/2019)
SloganStand Tall
Website
www.hickenlooper.com
Hickenlooper speaking to the California Democratic Party State Convention in June 2019.
Hickenlooper speaking to the California Democratic Party State Convention in June 2019.

On March 4, 2019, Hickenlooper announced his campaign to seek the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in 2020.[79][80][81] His candidacy had been a matter of media speculation for months before his announcement.[82][83] Hickenlooper formally launched his campaign on March 7, 2019, in Denver, Colorado.[84] A video titled "Stand Tall" was released to announce the campaign and outline his reasons for running.[81] Hickenlooper formed Giddy Up PAC in 2018 in anticipation of a presidential campaign, raising more than $600,000 in the midterm cycle.[85] The campaign struggled to gain traction in the crowded and increasingly competitive Democratic presidential primary field, and Hickenlooper ended his candidacy in a YouTube video on August 15, 2019.[86][87][88]

Endorsements

Personal life

Hickenlooper married Robin Pringle on January 16, 2016.[89] His first wife, Helen Thorpe, is a writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, George, and Texas Monthly. Prior to the separation, they lived in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood with their son, Teddy.[90] Upon taking office as governor, Hickenlooper and his family decided to maintain their private residence instead of moving to the Colorado Governor's Mansion.[91] On July 31, 2012, Hickenlooper announced that he and Thorpe were separating after 10 years of marriage.[92] Following his divorce, Hickenlooper moved into the Governor's Mansion.

Hickenlooper's mother's family were practicing Quakers. He spent a summer in his teens volunteering with the American Friends Service Committee in Robbinston, Maine, helping establish a volunteer-run free school.[93] In 2010, Hickenlooper told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he and Thorpe attended Quaker meetings and tried to live by Quaker values.[94] In a 2018 speech to the Economic Club of Chicago, Hickenlooper said "I'm not a Quaker", but spoke about the role of Quaker teaching in his approach to government.[95]

A cousin, George Hickenlooper (1963–2010) was an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker.[96] He is the great-grandson of Civil War Lt. Colonel Andrew Hickenlooper and the grandson of Federal Judge Smith Hickenlooper. Other relatives include pianist Olga Samaroff (née Lucy Mary Olga Agnes Hickenlooper), who was the first wife of conductor Leopold Stokowski; and great-uncle Bourke Hickenlooper, who served as governor of Iowa and a U.S. senator from Iowa.[97][98]

Writer Kurt Vonnegut was a friend of Hickenlooper's father. Meeting later in life, Vonnegut offered advice that came to guide Hickenlooper's life: "Be very careful who you pretend to be, because that's who you're going to be."[16]

Hickenlooper is an avid squash player and continues to compete as a ranked player in national tournaments.[citation needed]

Hickenlooper lives with prosopagnosia, commonly known as "face blindness".[99]

In popular culture

  • Hickenlooper appears in Kurt Vonnegut's novel Timequake.[100] The author had been college friends with Hickenlooper's father.
  • For a 2004 roast of the then-mayor of Denver, Vonnegut declared in a joke video that he was Hickenlooper's real father.[101]
  • In November 2012, Esquire interviewed Hickenlooper as one of the "Americans of the Year 2012".[102]
  • Hickenlooper made a cameo appearance in his cousin George Hickenlooper's 2010 film Casino Jack.[103][failed verification]

Electoral history

2003 Denver mayoral election
Candidate General Election[104] Run-off Election[105]
Votes % Votes %
John Hickenlooper 49,185 43.33 69,526 64.58
Donald J. Mares 25,308 22.29 38,126 35.42
Aristedes 'Ari' Zavaras 14,145 12.46
Penfield Tate III 13,450 11.85
Susan Casey 8,162 7.19
Elizabeth Schlosser 1,812 1.60
Phil Perington 1,247 1.10
Write-in 211 0.19
Total 113,520 100 107,652 100
2007 Denver mayoral election[106]
Candidate Votes %
John Hickenlooper 68,568 86.30
Danny F. Lopez 10,053 12.65
Write-ins 834 1.05
Total 79,455 100
Colorado gubernatorial Democratic primary, 2010[107]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Hickenlooper 303,245 100
Total votes 303,245 100
Colorado gubernatorial election, 2010[107]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Hickenlooper/Joseph García 915,436 51.05
Constitution Tom Tancredo/Pat Miller 652,376 36.38
Republican Dan Maes/Tambor Williams 199,792 11.14
Libertarian Jaimes Brown/Ken Wyble 13,365 0.7%
Independent Jason R. Clark 8,601 0.5%
Independent Paul Fiorino/Heather McKibbin 3,492 0.2%
Write-in 86 <0.1%
Total votes 1,793,148 100.0%
Colorado gubernatorial Democratic primary, 2014[108][109]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Hickenlooper (incumbent) 214,403 100
Total votes 214,403 100
Colorado gubernatorial election, 2014[108]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Hickenlooper/Joe Garcia (incumbent) 1,006,433 49.30%
Republican Bob Beauprez/Jill Repella 938,195 45.95%
Libertarian Matthew Hess/Brandon Young 39,590 1.94%
Green Harry Hempy/Scott Olson 27,391 1.34%
Independent Mike Dunafon/Robin J. Roberts 24,042 1.18%
Independent Paul Fiorino/Charles George Whitley 5,923 0.29%
Write-in Marcus Giavanni/Jashua Yballa 31 0.00%
Total votes 2,041,605 100%
Democratic primary results [110]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Hickenlooper 549,896 59.35%
Democratic Andrew Romanoff 376,693 40.65%
Total votes 926,589 100.00%

References

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Further reading

  • Hickenlooper, John; Potter, Maximillian (2016). The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 9781101981672. OCLC 929055877.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Wellington Webb
Mayor of Denver
2003–2011
Succeeded by
Bill Vidal
Preceded by
Bill Ritter
Governor of Colorado
2011–2019
Succeeded by
Jared Polis
Preceded by
Mary Fallin
Chair of the National Governors Association
2014–2015
Succeeded by
Gary Herbert
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Ritter
Democratic nominee for Governor of Colorado
2010, 2014
Succeeded by
Jared Polis
Preceded by
Mark Udall
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Colorado
(Class 2)

2020
Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Cory Gardner
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Colorado
Taking office 2021
Served alongside: Michael Bennet
Elect
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