John Hickenlooper: The 7 Issues Guide


The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these guides serve as a helpful starting point for you as you look into which candidates (or how many candidates!) you are interested in supporting in their bid to become our next President.

Today, let’s get to know John Hickenlooper!


Career Highlights

✦ Former Governor of Colorado (Jan. 2011 – Jan. 2019)
✦ Former Mayor of Denver



Affordable Healthcare: “The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was just becoming law as Hickenlooper started his first term. He worked with the legislature, where one party controlled each chamber, to create the state’s own exchange. Later in 2013, Hickenlooper opted to expand Medicaid again adding an estimated 160,000 Coloradans to the program.” Source

Healthcare Record: “He also signed into law critical rules that altered the hospital provider fee in Colorado. The law allowed billions of dollars to flow into the state’s rural areas, and helped keep open many rural clinics.” Source

Single Payer: “For instance, he opposed ColoradoCare, a ballot measure that would have created a single-payer health care system.” Source

Medicare for All: Hickenlooper is taking a similar tack in his presidential bid. He wants to build on Obamacare rather than dismantle it, and work to help “private insurers succeed” and provide better coverage. “Instead of battling over Medicare for All or universal coverage, I think the goal of the election is to really say, we all believe in universal coverage.” Source

Mental Health: “Governor Hickenlooper helped create the Colorado State Innovation Model to help integrate physical and mental health and substance use services into primary care settings.” Source 

Pro-Choice: “Hickenlooper is a supporter of abortion rights. … Hickenlooper often likes to talk about his work preventing unwanted pregnancies, especially for teens. In 2014, he celebrated a state initiative to reduce teen birth rates by providing more than 30,000 contraceptive devices at low or no cost, leading to a 40 percent drop in teen pregnancy over five years. The rate continued to drop through 2017.” Source 


Climate Change

Paris Climate Accord: “Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday that Colorado will join the U.S. Climate Alliance — a group of more than a dozen states set on upholding the Paris Climate Accord goals, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw the country as a whole.” Source 

Green New Deal: “Hickenlooper has said he supports the idea of the Green New Deal but has stopped short of embracing any specific portion of the resolution in Congress.” Source 

Climate Legislation: When the Trump administration backed off of methane gas regulations, Hickenlooper fought back in court. Source

Environmental Record: “A former geologist, Hickenlooper has regularly tried to strike a balance between protecting the environment and protecting Colorado’s oil and gas economy. Throughout his two terms as governor, Hickenlooper pushed for tougher regulations, including developing what he calls the toughest methane gas regulations in the country.” Source


Civil Rights

LGBTQ Rights: “Hickenlooper has long been a champion for LGBT rights. … Most famously, as governor, Hickenlooper called a special session of the legislature in 2012 after the Republican House speaker shut down debate on legislation that would have established civil unions in Colorado. After an election that ended Republican control of the state House, Hickenlooper signed the civil union legislation into law.” Source

Transgender Rights: “Most recently, he also vowed to protect transgender rights, a topic many politicians, even those who claim to support the LGBTQ community, shy away from. During Transgender Awareness Week, he referenced the 2008 law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and reflected on how far the community has come.” Source

Disability Rights: “Gov. Hickenlooper’s record as governor of Colorado shows his unwavering commitment to disability rights. As governor, he signed into law many bills that supported Coloradans with disabilities. Most notably, he committed the state to improving employment for people with disabilities.” Source

Death Penalty: “This was an issue that was front and center during his governorship. Hickenlooper said if he were elected president in 2020 he would suspend the death penalty across the country.” Source

Criminal Justice Reform: “Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced a comprehensive review of Colorado’s juvenile justice system. … The task force furthers our efforts to keep youth out of the criminal justice system, bolster Two-Generation approaches, and get the best outcomes for Colorado youth.” Source


Gun Reform

Gun Reform: “Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bills that require background checks for private and online gun sales and ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.” “The legislation thrust Colorado into the national spotlight as a potential test of how far the country might be willing to go with new gun restrictions after the horror of mass killings at an Aurora movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.” Source

Assault Weapons & Background Checks: “Hickenlooper signed several gun bills in 2013 that banned high-capacity magazines and implemented universal background checks for private gun sales.” Source

Arming Teachers: When asked if he would support arming teachers, Hickenlooper responded, “Well, I think that that’s one of those things that, when I’ve talked to teachers, literally almost no teacher wants to be carrying a weapon. … We’ve gotten to the point, I mean, we’re terrorizing ourselves, right? If you were trying to harm this country, what better thing could you do than to create a context where kids were too scared to go to school, or, when they got to school, they were too scared to learn?” Source


Voting Rights

Expanding Voting Rights: In 2013, Hickenlooper signed into law a major expansion of voting rights in Colorado. “The Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act includes a number of provisions that would make it easier to register and vote. With the governor’s signature Friday, Colorado is now the 11th state to enact Election-Day registration, which leads to higher registration rates and turnout. The bill institutes a system of portable registration, so that when voters move they can still cast a ballot which will count. It also establishes a bipartisan election modernization task force, paving the way for future reforms. Further, the bill eliminates the problematic “inactive – failed to vote” status that led to voters being denied ballots in certain elections simply because they had failed to vote a single time.” Source 


Economic Inequality

Taxes: When Colorado’s tax revenues went up due to retail marijuana sales, Hickenlooper used the money to invest more into education and healthcare. Source 

Taxes: “Gov. John Hickenlooper wants to tinker with Colorado’s tax refunds one more time before leaving office. The Democrat proposed new tax credits for child care and education Thursday in his last official budget… And he wants to return $22 million as tax credits for workforce development, which means the money would go to people continuing their education or retraining for work in a new industry.” Source

Minimum Wage: “Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday threw his support behind Amendment 70, the ballot measure to lift the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour from $8.31 by 2020.” Source 

Equal Pay: “The former governor of Colorado and former Denver mayor has not spoken much publicly about pay equity. In 2018, he did declare April 10 “Equity For All Day” in Colorado, though this was in coordination with an organization’s marketing push for its work to close the gender pay gap.” Source

Economic Record: “Hickenlooper supports pro-business policies and free trade. He opposes President Donald Trump’s trade policy and tariffs on goods from China and the European Union. As a business owner he helped revitalize downtown Denver and as mayor backed a multibillion dollar public transportation initiative, including 119 miles of commuter train track that connects the metro area and suburbs. As governor, Hickenlooper oversaw a booming Colorado economy that was one of the strongest in the country when he left office in 2018.” Source

Jobs: “Hickenlooper has also led the effort to rethink job training in Colorado. He helped start CareerWise, an apprentice program for high school students. And in 2016, working with Microsoft and foundations, Hickenlooper launched Skillful, a nonprofit that helps connect displaced workers with new training and jobs.” Source


Foreign Affairs

Hickenlooper does not appear to have made many statements on foreign policy at this time. 

Foreign Policy & Economic Growth: “State governors discussed ways Thursday to court foreign investment in the wake of President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with countries including China, Canada and Mexico. … ‘It gets damaging when you get into these very frictional relationships where people are trying to measure this tariff or that tariff,’ said Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado.” Source


Campaign website: Hickenlooper 2020


Check out all of our 7 Issues Guides: Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, John Delaney, Joe Biden, Eric Swalwell


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14 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Today I bring you the 9th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for the office of president next year. John Hickenlooper is on deck today, and I didn’t know much about him at all, so this post is enlightening for me, as well. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Hickenlooper!

    • Thanks, Jill!

      • It’s always my pleasure … you are doing good work with this series. Any plans for something along the lines of a side-by-side comparison once you’ve covered all the candidates?

      • At the start of the project, I was considering rearranging the info in the guides to go by issue by issue, i.e. a post about healthcare and then how each candidate stands. As I dig in to the guides, I think some apples-to-apples comparisons can be made, but in others, it’s pretty messy. I’m still thinking about it. What do you think folks might like?

      • I find that most of us are so overwhelmed with trying to keep up with everything these days, that attention spans are short. Understandably, but it makes it tough to tackle a topic that requires more depth. Visuals are typically winners, such as easy-to-read graphs. I was thinking a visual … a side-by-side chart with key bullet points. Just a thought, but let me know if you want a bit of help when you wrap up your series. You have provided a wonderful service here!

      • Good idea. I’m sure that when I’m done with the series, I’ll have some good ideas for other types of features.

  2. Reblogged this on Bennet Kelley's Clippings & More and commented:
    Colorado Governor Hickenlooper is the 9th candidate featured in TokyoSand’s excellent 7 Issues guide.


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