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John Hickenlooper on the issues, in under 500 words

Photo: Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Editor's Note: Hickenlooper dropped out of contention for the Democratic presidential nomination on Aug. 15, 2019. Below is our original article on his candidacy.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is positioning himself as a pragmatic, productive, drama-free moderate. He even weighed running on a joint ticket with former Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich. On progressive policy proposals like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, he said, "I reject the notion that it should become a litmus test of what it takes to be a good Democrat."

Key facts about John Hickenlooper:

  • Current position: N/a — 2-term governor of Colorado until Jan. 8, 2019
  • Age: 67
  • Born: Narberth, Pennsylvania
  • Undergraduate: Wesleyan University
  • Date candidacy announced: March 4, 2019
  • Previous roles: Governor of Colorado, mayor of Denver, restaurant and brewery owner, geologist

John Hickenlooper's stance on key issues:

  • Climate change: Calls for the U.S. to reenter the Paris climate agreement, institute a carbon tax and collaborate with industry for infrastructure investment. He wrote an op-ed in March denouncing the Green New Deal, arguing that while he supports the "concept", the model "sets unachievable goals" and would inflate the government.
  • Gun control: Signed legislation to require background checks for all gun sales and a ban on high-capacity magazines.
  • Health care: Created an Affordable Care Act exchange for Colorado and opted to expand Medicaid.
  • Economy: Was known as a pro-business governor, working to slim down the state's regulatory environment. He also worked to bring companies to Denver, created an apprentice program for high schoolers and launched a website to retrain displaced workers.
  • Marijuana: Once opposed to the idea of legalization in Colorado, he has come around to it.
  • Medicare for All: Said he supports single-payer health care, advocating for the general idea rather than hastily hashing out a specific policy. He opposed a ballot measure to bring a publicly-financed health care system to Colorado.
  • Reproductive rights: Hickenlooper unveiled in a Medium blog a new plan to expand access to long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC), such as Intrauterine Devices (IUDs), if elected.
  • Rural communities: Hickenlooper plans to strengthen rural communities by expanding broadband access, providing tax credits for small businesses and boosting funding for agricultural development, according to The Hill.

Key criticisms of John Hickenlooper:

  • Moderation: Many feel moderation and nuance is not a winning formula for 2020 Democrats.
  • Ethics complaint: Alleged to have violated Colorado rules by accepting free jet rides.
  • Business-friendly: Pro-business agenda included being an outspoken supporter of the fracking industry.

1 fun thing about John Hickenlooper:

  • He wrote in his memoir that when he was young he once tried to grow weed outside his bedroom window in Pennsylvania.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

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