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John Hickenlooper: Everything you need to know about the 2020 candidate

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

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: Narbeth, 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:

  • 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.
  • Green New Deal: Said he hasn't read all the details, but "I'm going to guess that 99% of what's in the Green New Deal I will be happy to embrace."

Key criticisms of John Hickenlooper:

  • Big change: Per the Denver Post: Some wonder "whether the cautious, consensus-building approach that has marked his governorship is too timid for the national stage."
  • 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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