John Hickenlooper is a former two-term Democratic governor of Colorado and mayor of Denver. He’s an avid concert-goer and squash player who co-founded a craft brewpub in downtown Denver in the 1980s after being laid off as a geologist.
As a swing state governor, Hickenlooper tackled controversial issues from guns to methane emissions to capital punishment while also weathering historic flooding, wildfires and other natural disasters. Hickenlooper announced Monday that he would run for president in 2020 in a video in which called himself an “extreme moderate.” He’s at least the 12th major Democrat to enter the race.
Here is where Hickenlooper stands on key 2020 issues.
Guns: Supports gun control
As governor, Hickenlooper supported tighter gun control initiatives after 12 people were killed and 58 were wounded in a 2012 shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Hickenlooper signed several gun bills in 2013 that banned high-capacity magazines and implemented universal background checks for private gun sales.
Economy: Free trader, opposes Trump administration’s tariffs
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.
Climate change: Backs climate change action, including regulations on methane and natural gas
Hickenlooper is a vocal supporter of action on climate change. In 2014, he implemented the country’s first rules to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas companies. A year later, the Obama administration proposed federal methane regulations. The Trump administration eventually eased those regulations and Hickenlooper fought back in court.
Social Issues: Supports gay marriage, LGBTQ rights and abortion
Hickenlooper supports gay marriage, LGBTQ rights and access to abortion. As governor, HIckenlooper called a special session of the state legislature in 2012 to challenge Republican opposition to legislation that would have legalized civil unions in the state. A few months later, Democrats won a majority in the state Assembly and Hickenlooper signed the legislation into law.
He also oversaw Colorado’s implementation of legalized recreational marijuana after voters approved the measure in 2012. Hickenlooper had initially opposed legalization, but said he would enforce the will of Colorado voters. He later opposed the Trump administration’s decision to enforce federal marijuana laws.
Health care: Supports reinforcing the Affordable Care Act
While serving as governor, Hickenlooper led the effort in 2011 to create Colorado’s Health Benefit Exchange and expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 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.
Hickenlooper joined other governors in criticizing the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He and Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, offered their own bipartisan healthcare reform plan at the time. Hickenlooper has since opposed the administration’s efforts to unravel the law through smaller rule changes, and recently announced he supported universal health care.
Foreign Policy: Supports a strong NATO, strengthening ties with allies
The former governor has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s foreign policy, especially when it comes to America’s allies and world leadership. Hickenlooper recently addressed the Munich Security Conference in Germany, and stressed the importance of the NATO alliance and global trade.
Immigration and border security: Opposes family separation policy
Hickenlooper signed an executive order as governor prohibiting the use of Colorado state resources to help implement the Trump administration’s family separation policy at the southern border, calling the policy “cruel and un-American.” Hickenlooper also did not send any National Guard troops to the southern border when Trump called on governors to do so in 2018.